Fire Service hosts Facebook live vehicle rescue

Example of previous extrication.

To highlight the dangers of winter driving, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is hosting a live Facebook casualty rescue known as an ‘extrication’.

  • Almost a third of all collisions in Shropshire (in 2019) ended in death or serious injury
  • Long-term emotional impact of RTCs can devastate families 
  • Facebook audience invited to submit questions live to fire crew

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service will perform a live casualty rescue on Friday, 11 December at 2pm to launch its Christmas safety campaign and highlight the dangers associated with winter driving conditions.  

Almost a third of all road traffic collisions in Shropshire ended in death or serious injury of someone aged between 16-25 in 2019. Speeding, drink driving, distractions and weather conditions being the main causes.

The extrication involves rescuing a volunteer ‘casualty’ from a vehicle using specialist equipment in real-time. The exercise will be streamed live on the Service’s Facebook page with the audience encouraged to submit questions during the broadcast.

Station Manager Ross Donnelly will be hosting the event, working with Wellington wholetime firefighters and West Mercia Police to explain what the exercise entails, providing useful advice about winter driving conditions and answering questions live from the audience.

Ross said: “It may sound exciting, but extrications are complex and serious operations requiring skill not only operating equipment but also in supporting the casualty.

“As well as a chance for our crew to practice their skills, we wanted people to understand that if they end up in an accident, the experience of being cut out of a vehicle that’s been damaged can add to the stress and risk of an incident.

“When we arrive at a road traffic collision, casualties are often in a state of shock or suffering serious injuries and timing can mean the difference between life and death. 

“We have to use heavy machinery which can be very close to the casualty sending vibrations through their body. Combined with strangers, sometimes extra lighting and the accident itself, the whole experience can be really tough.

“It’s another reason we practice as we need to be able to work as efficiently as possible to make sure the rescue is performed quickly.

“Fire crews at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service understand first-hand the emotional impact an accident can have. Aside from the physical effects which can often heal, the devastation to families and their loved ones is something casualties, crews and our partners like the ambulance and Police officers witness more often, especially in winter.

“Hopefully you won’t have to meet me or our crew in person, so please check the weather conditions and be extra careful this winter.”

Telford & Wrekin Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety and Customer Services, Councillor Richard Overton will also be taking part in the exercise and has volunteered to be the ‘casualty’.

He said: “Road incidents and fatalities are tragic occurrences and we are constantly working with partners to improve road safety in the borough through a mixture of schemes such as traffic calming, speed limits and advisory zones to prevent incidents.

“This exercise will show people the reality of what it’s like being rescued from a vehicle and I approach it with mixed feelings. I hope to learn a lot and share my experience to hopefully encourage others to think more carefully about their decisions when driving.”

To take part visit the Service Facebook page and watch the live stream between 2-2.30pm - the crew will answer as many questions as time allows.  

Please note, this is a live training exercise and if the station receievs an emergency call, the broadcast will be cancelled. 

8th December, 2020