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Fargo, West Fargo Fire Department recruits undergo ten week training

Fire academy recruits undergo a training exercise with extrication tools.
D. Webster
Fire academy recruits undergo a training exercise with extrication tools.

In this exercise, recruits are learning how to use "the jaws of life" to reach a patient trapped in a vehicle.

Recruits for the Fargo and West Fargo Fire Departments attending a joint fire training academy learned how to properly use “the jaws of life” to extricate a patient from a vehicle involved in a crash.

Benjamin Willey is fire training captain with the Fargo Fire Department. He says the recruits learn to use powered hydraulic and hand tools to remove glass, doors, roofs and steering wheels to get to patients who may be trapped inside vehicles at accident scenes. He says they will probably respond to crashes during every shift as fire fighters. And though extrication is usually used once a month or so, it’s still important to stay on top of that training.

"I mean, the auto industry is constantly evolving - we're moving quicker and quicker toward electronic vehicles, and every manufacturer has a different body style, different safety features - all of that can work against us. So even though we don't have maybe the demand for the skills every day as we're responding in the field, the annual training sometimes isn't enough to keep up with the changes in the industry."

The fire training academy is ten weeks long.