The demonstration was provided by the National Auto Body Council First Responder Emergency Extrication (F.R.E.E.™) program and BASF.
In crashes where minutes can spell the difference between life and death, first responders to the accident scene need up-to-date information so they can act quickly and safely. Knowing specifically where and how to efficiently cut, pry and extricate can save precious minutes and lives. Having such knowledge also benefits the safety of the first responders.
Keeping first responders up-to-date on the latest technology in vehicles is a challenge for every local fire department. The F.R.E.E. program helps first responders stay abreast of the rapid changes in vehicle design. High-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles are all covered in the program. The growing popularity of high-voltage hybrid and electric vehicles and the many safety concerns surrounding these vehicles make this program a necessity. Alternative fuel systems present different challenges when first responders arrive at the scene of an accident. Electric cars, hybrid cars and natural gas vehicles have fuel systems that pose dangers for first responders if need arises to cut or pry the vehicle for rescue.
The BASF Automotive Competence Center at 19345 Kenswick Dr. hosted first responders from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and surrounding areas at a special NABC F.R.E.E. instruction program on November 17 in Houston to help ensure Texas drivers have the best prepared response in case of an accident.
State Farm Insurance provided the vehicles, and Hurst Jaws of Life and MES instructors supplied the classroom education and extrication demonstration. Other partners included Insurance Auto Auctions, BAM Towing and Enterprise Rental Car.