Firefighters in Sioux Falls are learning how to safely cope with crashes between cars and big vehicles. Rescue crews spend half a day in the classroom learning about the scenarios. Then they apply their education by moving real semi trucks and trailers in mock situations.
A tow truck drones and metal crunches as crews in fire gear work on a semi truck. They use specialized equipment to stabilize the rig which is smashed on top of a mangled car.
"We did our hazard mitigation, took care of any fuel, energized equipment," Phil Paszkiewicz with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue says. "You see the blocks behind the wheels, making sure that vehicle can’t move, so it looks like now they’re getting ready to lift it."
Paszkiewicz says fire crews stabilize big vehicles six ways: front, back, both sides, up and down. He says that’s especially difficult when firefighters are working with anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 pounds of truck or equipment. Paszkiewicz says the goal is getting passengers in the car out as quickly as possible, but crews can’t simply slice through metal.
"The more we cut on the car, the more unstable that car becomes. So if we have like this scenario where we have a truck on top of it, we want to make sure we have all the stability in place so we’re safely, for ourselves and also our patients, getting them out of the vehicle," Paszkiewicz says.
Fire crews tackle four different scenarios involving big vehicles to help address how unpredictable calls can be. After the semi versus car accident, they examine a passenger van that’s wedged beneath a trailer. They also work on a car crushed by a cement truck drum and a semi rig rolled on top of a car in a ditch.