Wausau FD Train With Jaws Of Life

By: Elizabeth Schilder Email
By: Elizabeth Schilder Email

It's a situation you never want to be in. A crash where your car is totaled, you're seriously hurt and you can't get out. With only an hour window to get you the critical help you need, first responders have to act quickly. That's why the men and women of the Wausau Fire Department spent the day training, learning how to do just that.

They were specifically working on extrication training. You may be more familiar with the tools they use for it. They're referred to as the "Jaws of Life" and they're used to force doors open and cut and spread metal, allowing firefighters to pull victims from the car. In the last two months, the Wausau Fire Department has had to use them three or four times.

As cars change, firefighters run into new issues with where they can and cannot cut, as they don't want to sever electrical wires. This is especially a problem on hybrid cars.

Since the Department gets most of their practice vehicles from a scrap yard, it's hard for them to find newer models to practice on. To compensate, the firefighters take courses online, but Lieutenant Mike Tulisaari says hands on experience is the best.

"Get your hands dirty. Get your hands on the equipment because sooner rather than later you're going to be out there and people are going to be depending on you," Lt. Tulisaari told his team.

The Wausau Fire Department has hands-on extrication training two times a year. In the last two years they've upgraded their equipment. Now all of the "Jaws" tools are battery operated making them easier to use and less intimidating to victims.

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