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Monday, 07 January 2019 20:46

NABC F.R.E.E. Program Teaches Houston, TX, Firefighters New Rescue Skills


More than 35 firefighters from various area fire stations gathered this fall at First Choice Collision’s Cypress, TX, location at 11638 Telge Rd. for a hands-on training on the latest techniques in emergency vehicle extrication.


First Choice Collision was the first collision center in the Houston area to partner up with the National Auto Body Council’s First Responder Emergency Extrication™ (F.R.E.E.) program to bring this live event.


“It was not a question of whether we would or would not have this event. As a family-owned business, we cherish our family, and if this event could help families in our community and our first responders in the area one day, we were glad to do it,” said Mike Matejek, First Choice Collision LLC co-owner.


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 and extricate can make the difference in saving precious minutes and lives as well as the safety of the first responders.


“We see first-hand what a vehicle can go through in an accident. Metal gets pushed around in all directions. It’s no surprise people can get trapped. Giving the first responders the opportunity to practice extrication techniques is the least we can do to give back to a group of men and women who put their lives on the line every day,” said Ronnie Johnston, First Choice Collision LLC co-owner.


Keeping firefighters up-to-date on the latest new technology in vehicles is a challenge for every local fire department. The NABC’s F.R.E.E. program keeps first responders abreast of the rapid changes in vehicle design. High-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles were all covered in the program. The dangers facing first responders if need arises to “cut” the vehicle for rescue were highly stressed.


Along with First Choice Collision LLC’s commitment to bringing this program to Houston and facilitating the event, State Farm donated five vehicles for training use and Hurst Jaws of Life supplied the instructors and extrication demonstrations. Another valued partner included LKQ Corporation, who provided the towing services along with a delicious dinner for all the event guests. Through the efforts of all the parties involved, the event was a huge success.

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