Tisbury firefighters hold drill

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Tisbury firefighters train with stabilization jacks. — Rich Saltzberg

Tisbury firefighters trained with stabilizing jacks Wednesday night behind the town’s emergency services building. The jacks are used to prop and secure vehicles after crashes, and in other emergency situations. Using a donated Nissan Maxima and a donated Range Rover, a simulated T-bone crash resulting in a heeled-over vehicle was set up. A dummy victim was placed behind the steering wheel of the Maxima, which was at roughly a 20° tilt against the front of the Range Rover. 

The challenge for firefighters then became, “How do you get an injured person out of a vehicle at that angle?” Fire Chief John Schilling asked. He added that extraction must maintain “spinal immobilization,” so the task is delicate, despite the heavy rescue tools at play. Schilling said firefighters collaborated and opted to remove the windshield, part of the roof, and some windows to extricate the victim. 

He said they also trained Wednesday night with a device called a piercing nozzle, which he described as a four-foot-long stainless steel firehose nozzle with a sharp tip. In a fire situation, it allows firefighters to puncture a vehicle and inject water without having risk their safety by popping a hood or opening a door. The department’s rescue squad wasn’t the only company that participated in the training. All four fire companies did, Schilling said.