Omaha First Responders Learn New Rescue Skills Through NABC F.R.E.E. Program

The program taught how to respond to crash scenes involving newer vehicles with advanced safety features.

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More than 25 first responders from the Omaha Fire Department and surrounding areas donned their rescue gear for a hands-on demonstration of the latest techniques in emergency vehicle extrication, preparing them to provide the best response for car accident victims, all thanks to CARSTAR Don & Ron’s CollisionAllstate Insurance, HURST Jaws of Life and the National Auto Body Council (NABC) First Responders Emergency Education (F.R.E.E.) program.

The hands-on demonstration was hosted May 10 at CARSTAR Don & Ron’s Collision in Omaha.

Today’s vehicles are equipped with numerous airbags, advanced technology and innovative safety systems that keep drivers safer in case of an accident. But these same safety advantages make it harder for first responders to rescue those drivers and passengers. Add to that the potential challenge presented by electric and hybrid engines, and first responders need a whole new arsenal of rescue tools and procedures.

“It was good to get hands-on experience with new equipment on new vehicles,” said Brady Krajeski, a member of the Ralston Fire Department, after the training.

The NABC F.R.E.E. program helps prepare local first responder teams to rescue accident victims from these late-model vehicles. The program provides education and live demonstrations on working with high-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles. Since it was founded, it has provided education for more than 5,500 first responders.

Mark Krzemien, marketing manager for CARSTAR Don and Ron’s Collision, which has held five such events over the years, explained why his company is involved in the program: “We understand the complex material in today’s vehicles and wanted to give first responders the opportunity to practice extrication techniques on newer model vehicles.”

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