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Lake Monticello Firefighters Practice Rescuing People from Wrecked Vehicles

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Lake Monticello firefighters practiced saving people from cars on May 16 Lake Monticello firefighters practiced saving people from cars on May 16
The group used battery-powered tools The group used battery-powered tools
State Farm donated vehicles for the training session State Farm donated vehicles for the training session
FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Firefighters in Fluvanna County are practicing using tools to help victims of motor vehicle accidents in the event of a real life-threatening situation.

On Wednesday, May 16, volunteers with Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Department conducted a training exercise to learn how to get people out of damaged vehicles faster.

Firefighters say over the years, the area near Lake Monticello has continued to grow and that they’ve seen an increase in car accidents with entrapment. This statistic makes them eager to practice getting people out of their cars while not only protecting themselves, but protecting others as well.

"Being in an accident is probably one of the most scary things you can think of,” says Gary Albert, a State Farm agent.

You never know when something may suddenly go wrong on the road.

“Deer can jump out, flat tires, pull you off the road, you don't know,” says Jean Campbell, the assistant fire chief at Lake Monticello. “Drunk drivers, people texting all the time - which is horrible. You just don’t know what you run into.”

On Wednesday, volunteers at Lake Monticello Fire Department learned how to use extrication tools from Hurst-Jaws of Life so that they are prepared when someone is trapped inside of a wrecked car.

“It’s trying to give everybody muscle memory,” says Richard Constantino, the Lake Monticello Fire Chief. “’Cause if you train often, you do things all the time, all the time, the same way every time. When you do get into an actual incident, you are going to act reflexively.”

The department currently has a spreader, cutter, and a ram, but its current tools are hooked up to a hydraulic system on the truck that only allows them to go 100 feet. However, the tools they tested on Wednesday evening are battery-powered.

State Farm donated five vehicles to the department so that the crew can test different tool brands on each.

"It keeps them safe because they get to know how to use the material correctly and on cars they are going to find on the road,” says Albert.

Eventually, the department's goal is to buy more up-to-date equipment because sometimes saving a life comes down to seconds.

“We had a cut job just down the road, from time of dispatch to time of extrication complete, was seven minutes from this station,” says Campbell. “We had the guy out in probably less than three minutes by the time we responded, so that proves why training is important.”

Over the course of this year, Lake Monticello will practice extrication techniques on the four other vehicles using different tools.

No clear date has yet been set on when the department will purchase the new tools.

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