Members of the Frost, Marlinton and Hillsboro fire departments attended vehicle extraction training at the Frost Fire Department last weekend. Five junk cars were set up in different accident scenarios to help the firefighters to learn the best ways to safely extract victims from the vehicles using tools such as the jaws of life. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

There was a five car pileup last weekend in Frost, but not to worry – it was staged. In order to properly train its members, the Frost, Marlinton and Hillsboro fire departments held a joint training session, complete with a staged car accident.

On Saturday, the firefighters spent the day in a class for advanced auto and machinery extrication, learning the ins and outs of, and all that goes into, handling an accident scene. Then, on Sunday, they applied the skills they learned with five vehicles set up in various situations that can occur during a traffic collision.

Frost fire chief Steve Tritapoe said the training was led by RESA Instructor Jim Phares, of Webster County.

“Jim and Herby Barlow and Jamie Kellison – some of the officers that have experience with this – set these cars up like it was a natural wreck,” Tritapoe said. “It’s like what you’d see on the scene. There’s a car on its side or there’s a car flipped over. That way, you know what it looks like. Not everything is sitting on the wheels when you show up. Sometimes you’re working upside down.”

The departments worked together using the jaws of life and other equipment to cut into the wrecked vehicles. While there weren’t any actors to play victims, the firefighters were able to learn how to open the cars as safely as possible.

The vehicles were donated for the fire departments’ use and will be turned into scrap metal when the training is complete.

Dozens of members from the three volunteer departments attended the weekend training session.

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