Local rescue squads train with the Jaws of Life equipment

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- When traffic accidents trap victims in wrecks, every second counts. The speed at which rescuers can free people from crushed cars can mean the difference between life and death, which is why emergency responders need practice with vehicle extrication – or Jaws of Life – equipment.

Rick Herrell, Assistant Chief of the Rural Metro Fire Department says,
"If we can't provide the very best service when these accidents do occur, then we're doing a service to the citizens of Knox County. We're honing our skills so the outcome can be as positive as possible."

Over the next seven days, nearly 40 men and women will work with donated cars at Pull-A-Part on Rutledge Pike.

"What we're being able to use here at Pull-Apart is the fantastic resources of vehicles. That is the most difficult part of training, is trying to find the vehicles," Herrell says.

The job is tough and tricky, because crews have to cut through layers of metal and glass.

"It's not like the old days where you can just take a spread a door, you have to actually attack the door and be strategic about it," says instructor Lee Raybor. "The new doors and manufacturing standards cause a bar to be in the middle of the door. We can't spread against the bar -- it's structural, it's not going to move."

Trainees will use real equipment on intact vehicles, giving them hands-on experience for real life emergencies they'll tackle in the future.

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