Superior Auto Collision in Eagan was the site of a National Auto Body Council First Responders Emergency Extrication Training.
“(Firefighters) don’t usually have access to late model vehicles unless they’re on the side of the interstate trying to extract someone from a vehicle,” said Dan Sjolseth, owner of Superior Service Center. “That’s not a good time to learn.”
Fire department personnel from Eagan, Apple Valley, Lakeville, South Metro, Mendota Heights and Farmington were on site for extrication training by cutting into vehicles.
They learned life-saving techniques should they ever be in a situation where they need to get someone out of a disabled vehicle.
“If they have a hybrid, you need to disable that battery on that vehicle,” Sjolseth said. “If you don’t, you can have the engine start on you because a lot of them have backup engines and generators. There are a lot of moving parts.”
If they were to cut in the wrong place, they could hit an electrical wire.
“If the airbags aren’t deployed, they can not only cause themselves harm, [but] they can hurt the passenger,” Sjolseth said. “If you can’t cut in the right areas, you can cause more damage when you’re trying to save someone’s life. These different alloys can be very flammable.”
State Farm Insurance supplied four vehicles deemed a total loss for this demonstration.
“It’s training they typically wouldn’t be able to get unless they paid for it,” said Business Development Manager Michael Peterson. “A lot of the cars are newer---cars some of the firefighters haven’t had the chance to cut into otherwise.”
Understanding evolving vehicle design as well as advanced technologies and components helps first responders perform their life-saving duties safely, Peterson said.
The firefighters also received classroom training from Hurst Jaws of Life representatives.
The National Auto Body Council partners with Hurst, insurers and the collision repair facilities to provide this community service.
Event host Superior Service Center is affiliated with 1Collision, an organization of independent and dealer-owned-and-operated collision repair businesses.
“We want to help the community and the first responders to be able to extract people safely and protect themselves,” Sjolseth said.