Palm Coast - Firefighters with the Palm Coast Fire Department and Flagler County Fire Rescue recently completed extrication training.

Led by Palm Coast's Lt. Jeff Poeira, PCFD hosted teams from both departments for three days who were able to reinforce their knowledge and skills in extrication rescues, which occur in cases of severe vehicle crashes.

"These crews respond to calls together, so it makes sense to train together," said Palm Coast Fire Lt. Jeff Poeira. "Going through these exercises as a team with the same equipment, makes for more effective training and thus better life-saving outcomes for residents."

In the training, firefighters are tasked with different scenarios and barriers to complete the rescue. Their first step is to get in contact with the patient. Then, they must stabilize the vehicle through a combination of releasing air from the tires and utilizing wood cribbing and rescue jacks to keep the car in place. Third, they complete the actual extrication. For this, they practice using different forcible entry tools such as a window punch and a firefighting multi-tool called a Halligan, that breaks windows among its many functions and uses. They also cut the metal of the vehicle using hydraulic tools called spreaders or cutters. And finally, they remove the patient.

This is the first facilities training for the department since the pandemic began in March and is normally completed five times a year. It also qualifies as training required to maintain the department's prestigious ISO rating of two - which is the second best public protection classification. That is in the top 1.1 percent statewide and top 1.3 percent in the nation. Lower ISO ratings improve residents' property insurance access and rates.

"Lieutenant Poeira set up a great training. We are creating a training environment to simulate what the crews would see and how they would work on a real scene," said PCFD Battalion Chief Gary Potter. "This was a great opportunity for some of our younger members to learn new skills and for our leaders of the department to shine while teaching the great knowledge they have. The department is very proud of how everyone is working together for the benefit and safety of our citizens."