On Wednesday September 14th, 2005 the Oyster Bay Fire Department held a monthly training drill at fire headquarters, the topic of this drill was vehicle extrication. Members from the Oyster Bay Fire Department and Oyster Bay Fire-Medic Squad practiced their skills on a Toyota Sport Utility Vehicle. 2nd Assistant Chief Vincent Bellissimo led this training exercise. He instructed members first on proper methods of stabilization through the use of hand tools, step chocks, and rope systems. Chief Bellissimo then instructed members on how to properly secure a vehicle prior to beginning extrication measures. This included gaining access to the battery of the vehicle and disconnecting it, protecting the patient and responding crew from unfired air bags through the use of the Holmatro Air Bag Restraint. This device is placed over the steering wheel of a vehicle whose air bag has not yet deployed and will protect the driver and rescue workers in the event of an accidental firing. The Oyster Bay Fire Department currently operates with one of these devices on each ambulance. After properly stabilizing a vehicle and securing it members began an intense regiment of extrication techniques both basic and advanced.
The Oyster Bay Fire Department currently operates with two separate Holmatro Extrication Systems. The Squad 558 has the larger of the two systems, which consists of the Spreaders better known as the Jaws of Life, Cutters, and a Hydraulic Ram. A dual action pump allows any two of the tools to be operated simultaneously. These tools are used in your more advanced extrication situations. The Jaws of Life is used to manipulate mangled doors and other pieces of the vehicle by spreading and/or crushing them. The Cutters are used for anything from cutting hinges on the door to cutting posts in order to remove the roof of the vehicle. The hydraulic ram is used in one of the more advanced techniques called the dashboard roll. This technique is needed when a vehicle has had a major front-end collision and the dashboard has displaced itself and pinned anyone of the occupants under it. The ram is then used to force the dashboard off of the patient allowing for extrication.
The Oyster Bay Fire Department also operates with a Holmatro Tool on Engine 552. This tool is known as a combination tool or combi-tool, which allows for spreading and cutting. This tool is powered by a single action pump that allows for two tools to be connected at the same time however can only power one at a time. This tool is very useful in your basic extrications. It is able to be set up very quickly and is much lighter in weight than the other tools mentioned.
Having two tools that are capable of similar results is a benefit at any scene. There is always a possibility for multiple patients requiring extrication at motor vehicle accidents. The Oyster Bay Fire Department’s standard response to an Auto Accident is Ambulance 16, Squad 8 and Ambulance 26. If needed Engine 2 or Ladder 4 will respond at the request of the command on scene.
For information on how to become a member of the Oyster Bay Fire Department please feel free to call us at 516-922-1226 and speak with an officer.