Pinned under a truck? Wilton firefighters can handle that
WILTON — The Wilton Fire Department has added to its arsenal of life-saving equipment with the purchase of a highway stabilization kit and a lifting kit for heavy vehicles.
All four shifts of firefighters trained on using the equipment last week under the watchful eyes of instructors from the Connecticut Fire Academy. They practiced rescuing someone from a car turned on its roof or on its side. They also dealt with an underride, which is when a car goes under a larger vehicle, such as a truck or bus — even something the size of the Dial-A-Ride bus — and there are people trapped inside.
The training program had been in the works since the beginning of the year, Deputy Chief Jim Blanchfield said, but was put off until now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With Route 7 running through town, we have a tremendous number of large vehicles,” he said, including oil delivery trucks, construction vehicles, buses and the like. “Now we can safely deal with them,” he said.
He characterized accidents between cars and large, heavy vehicles, as “low frequency, high risk,” and now the department is prepared.
Firefighters have long had the ability to rescue people from cars that turn over and Blanchfield said the training was “a refresher for stabilizing and extricating” in such a situation.
The equipment is also valuable when firefighters are confronted with “items of such weight and size” as large trees.
In fact, Blanchfield said the equipment and training was very timely on Aug. 4 when the fire department answered multiple calls for trees on cars with people inside. Fortunately, there were no injuries as a result.
“The more training we have, the more uses we’ll have” for the equipment, he said.
“There is no limit,” he added. “We can handle just about any vehicle that comes through town.”