By Rob Schuette, Fort McCoy Public AffairsOctober 1, 2012
FORT McCOY, Wis. -- The Fort McCoy Fire Department and local fire departments trained on heavy-vehicle extrication at the Fort McCoy Fire Department Training Center Sept. 15.
Firefighters and Emergency Rescue personnel from Fort McCoy and other agencies throughout the area participated in "The Big Lift," an intensive training exercise that taught the techniques of lifting and stabilizing heavy vehicles for victim extrication.
Fort McCoy Station Chief Mark Wieman said the training was open to all Fort McCoy Fire Department Mutual-Aid Partners. Personnel from Tomah Rescue, Sparta City Fire Department, Town of Lincoln Fire Department, Cashton Fire Department, Wilton Fire Department and the Bangor Fire Department attended.
"We had 10 scenarios, which included entrapped people to be extricated," Wieman said. The scenarios dealt with large vehicles, some of which exceeded 80,000 pounds.
"Our mutual-aid partners may encounter these scenarios through the military or through the Interstates or highways that run through their communities," he said.
"At Fort McCoy, we have responded to scenarios like this and did the best we could," Wieman said. "We never had the ability to train for it before now."
Some of the scenarios included a concrete truck straddling a vehicle simulating a head-on collision, an overturned dump truck, an overturned tractor trailer onto another vehicle, an overturned transit bus and an overturned front-end loader.
Wieman said the personnel also faced victims trapped in the vehicles.
Instructors from several civilian/commercial firms trained emergency personnel on the latest technology available, he said.
The participating companies were P.E.R. Towing of Sparta; Paratech Inc. of the Chicago area; and the Fire Rescue Supply, T-N-T-Rescue Tools firm of Belleville, Wis. No federal endorsement is implied.
Training tools included air-bag rescue systems, strut/cribbing support, etc., he said.
"The hands-on training gave the personnel a chance to learn how to use the equipment used in heavy lifting and stabilization," Wieman said.
The instructors commented to Wieman that they had been to multiple training exercises and had never seen so many scenarios with that much thought and consideration put into them.
Fort McCoy organizations, including the Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, also provided excellent support to help ensure a successful event, he said.
The Fort McCoy Fire Department hopes to sponsor the training again next year and, ideally, would like to expand it to a two-day event. This would allow everyone participating the opportunity to get more in-depth training, Wieman said.