Nearly 6 million traffic-related incidents occur annually in the United States. October marked a stark milestone, recording from January to June the largest six-month increase ever in fatalities at 20,160, up 18.4 % over 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
First responders work hard every day to keep this number as low as possible. Thanks to their rapid intervention, for every life lost many are saved.
In order to keep response and recovery times swift and save as many lives as possible, emergency responders are put through extensive training. Firefighters, for example, train to extinguish hazardous fires threatening lives, property and the environment, as well as rescue people and animals from dangerous situations.
In the communities we serve, Sims Metal plays a valuable role in training local Fire Departments by making this critical exercise hands-on at many locations across North America.
All of our metal recycling centers are ideal locations to facilitate this life-saving training due to the vast size of each site. In addition, the sites have scrap cars that have been de-polluted of all hazardous and flammable materials, making it a safe place to stage training exercises.
A Closer Look
Sims Metal recently hosted fire fighters at several yards in California, New Jersey and Illinois. Each facility opens the yard to the local fire departments as often as needed. In California, the visits occur twice monthly whereas in Jersey City, at our Claremont Terminal facility, we open the yard every Sunday.
The on-site team prepares the scrap cars by first de-polluting them, which includes the removal of all fluids, gas, oil and batteries. Sam Flores, a Shredder Manager in Chicago, IL said, “The fire department prefers vehicles with tires intact and often requests to have the cars crushed to mimic an over-turned vehicle.”
In Chicago, the visits occur monthly, so Sam and the operations team often prepare the cars as they come in by identifying those that may be most beneficial for the training to be set aside for their next visit.
At our joint venture Richmond Steel Recycling (RSR) in Kamloops, British Columbia, the team recently hosted Kamloops Fire and Rescue. This particular day was a bit different than most because the firefighters were able to train using a new tool: a combi. The combi is a battery powered 2-in-1 rescue tool; a spreader and cutter in one. Previously, the Kamloops Fire and Rescue team practiced using a hydraulic jaw blade, typically referred to as the ‘Jaws of Life.’ On a hydraulic jaw blade, the blades are curved and keep the targeted cut centered in the blade whereas the new combi has a straight blade and a secondary use as a spreader.
Shaun Barrett, a volunteer fire fighter with Kamloops Fire and Rescue and Yard Manager of the Kamloops RSR Facility, recently witnessed the combi tool in action while on a call to a motor vehicle incident with two individuals trapped inside with wheels facing up. He said, “I learned from the Incident Captain the most effective way to use the combi tool for cutting a frame section is to squish a wider section flat prior to making the cut. Otherwise the tool would want to pop back like trying to cut a pen with scissors. Learning this in the field may have taken away precious time which is critical and necessary in an extraction. The time could save blood, a limb or more.”
The practice Fire Fighters gain by using the cars we purchase is vital. We are very proud of our local Fire Departments and honored to play a valuable role in their life-saving training.
Check out some of the Fire Departments we’ve partnered with as they practice rescuing a dummy passenger from a crushed car using the combi tool and much more.