News: New River ARFF Marines train with Jaws of Life
Story by Lance Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. - Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Marines aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River participated in vehicle extrication training at the ARFF fire pits, April 24.
It is crucial for ARFF Marines to stay proficient in all aspects of their training, especially vehicle extrication.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, vehicle extrication is the process of removing a vehicle from around a person who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident when conventional means of exit are impossible or inadvisable.
“The ability to access a patient and extricate him from his entrapment without further injury is extremely important,” said Gunnery Sgt. Israel Dominguez, ARFF training chief, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “Vehicle extrication training is a vital training piece to ARFF Marines. The primary duty of ARFF Marines is to rescue trapped or injured personnel.”
An ARFF Marine should always expect the unexpected, said Joe Towery, strategic accounts sales manager for Hurst, the manufacturer of Jaws of Life. He said they need to learn to always think outside the box and think of every possible way to approach a situation. When arriving at a crash site, he said the Marines cannot always expect a textbook scenario.
“Whether ARFF is responding to an aircraft emergency aboard New River or responding to a mutual aid response with the Camp Lejeune Fire Department, we always have to be ready for the worst scene, always keeping in mind that extricating a trapped victim from a vehicle or aircraft is a priority,” said Dominguez.
The ARFF Marines must train often on all the new rescue techniques and equipment to ensure the safety and well-being of the trapped victims and the Marines doing the extrication.
Dominguez said, “The vehicle extrication training entails using equipment such as the cutters, spreaders [Jaws of Life], combination tool and rescue rams to overcome the challenges of removing a door, windshield, trunk or interior with the purpose of creating an entry point or interior space to work with.”
He said extricating victims is an art that every firefighter should practice often to be able to perform flawlessly when the unexpected calls.
For some of the Marines, this was the first time they were able to get hands-on experience and practice their extrication skills since their military occupational specialty school.
“This training was well received by the ARFF Marines,” said Dominguez. “Furthermore, it gave ARFF Marines the opportunity to practice the art of vehicle extrication training which, in turn, will assist them on maintaining their high level of readiness while performing their duties.”