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home : features : features April 24, 2015

8/18/2013 9:20:00 AM
Paramedic students get hands-on training with the Jaws of Life
Instructor Jamie Ingaro shows students the best way to use a Hurst tool during the extrication portion of the Yavapai College paramedic program at its Prescott Valley campus.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Instructor Jamie Ingaro shows students the best way to use a Hurst tool during the extrication portion of the Yavapai College paramedic program at its Prescott Valley campus.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Students remove a
Students remove a "victim" during the extrication portion of the Yavapai College paramedic program at their Prescott Valley campus.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

Patrick Whitehurst
Special to the Tribune

PRESCOTT VALLEY - It's a tool all rescue personnel should know inside and out.

Life-saving extrication tools used to remove injured occupants from vehicles and other small spaces include the spreader, the ram, the cutter and the door-buster - all with the goal of getting to a vehicle's occupants without harming the patient.

While these tools are typically referred to as the Jaws of Life, the name is trademarked by extrication equipment manufacturer Hurst Performance Inc.

Extrication instructor Jamie Ingrao, with the Sedona Fire District, briefed 24 paramedic students with Yavapai College on the finer details of the large tools when extricating an injured patient. The trick, he explained, is to remove the car from the person - not the other way around.

Students pried open the doors, deflated tires, popped windows and cut into metal framework as part of the exercise.

"The main thing is to know what happens during an extrication and to provide a higher level of care for people involved in motor vehicle accidents," Ingrao said.

Ingrao instructs students from Seattle to California and Colorado. He also works as a representative for Hurst Performance Inc.

"It involves more than just the extrication aspect of it. It's knowing you have the right amount of resources to handle that kind of call, to stabilize the vehicle, dealing with traffic, knowing you have the resources you need for proper patient care, and having all the tools you need. It's a delayed process to do it right, and provide the right service for the customers that are stuck in there," Ingrao said.

While rescue personnel are always looking for safe ways to decrease extrication times, an operation can take up to an hour before the patient is removed.

"We're trying to find ways to improve that and get it to 15- to 20-minute extrications. The tools continue to evolve just like the cars do," Ingrao said.

The educational demonstration, held Thursday at the Prescott Valley Yavapai College campus, allowed students to destroy two vehicles, which were already damaged, to save a mannequin located inside.

"It all simulates how to get an individual out of cars. Jamie explains the pitfalls," noted Yavapai College representative Ken Schoch. "This is the first time we've had the people and the resources available."

Hurst Performance Inc., Schoch said, donated new extrication tools to Central Yavapai Fire District, which were made available for the class.

"They're new technology tools; they're battery-operated," Schoch said.

The students in Thursday's hands-on training, according to Yavapai College Paramedic Instructor Ethan Osgood, are all trained as emergency medical technicians prior to enrolling in the 14-month class.

"A majority of the students work for fire departments. We've got five different agencies represented - some of them are ambulance, some of them are hospital employees - all of them are stepping up to paramedic level," Osgood said.

The paramedic class fills to capacity nearly every semester, he added.

"They come in as an EMT. You have to reach that level in order to try to get into a paramedic program," Osgood said.

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