Jul 142014

The Groton Fire Department, fresh from moving in to its new Central Fire Station on Farmers Row, conducted its first training class on Saturday. Forty emergency medical technicians from around the state, including 18 from Groton, worked on motor vehicle accident extraction techniques and practiced with Groton firefighters who demonstrated rescue tools and tactics.

The new fire station was completed just a couple weeks behind schedule after more than a year of construction and more than a decade of planning, designing, and political wrangling. Fire engines and trucks from the old Central Fire Station, Station 1 on Station Avenue and ambulances and the rescue truck from the public safety building are now all under one roof in the $9M facility.

The station’s new training rooms and facilities are attracting favorable reviews from lots of area fire departments, Captain Susan Daly said. She predicted that many first responder course instructors will be attracted to the new facility and that more classes will be taught in Groton, making training opportunities more accessible to Groton personnel and not pulling Groton personnel out of town.

“The EMTs are practicing extrication, and the new ones are learning what firefighters do, how we can get into a car safely to secure a patient, How we do our job, and allowing us to do our job before they come in to do their job,” Lieutenant Michael Culley said. We’re showing them the techniques we use to get in there and gain access to a patient. As EMTs, they may be called upon to help in that rescue situation. And if there are multiple vehicles involved and we’re calling in extra personnel, they might have to become part of the rescue.”

The new Hurst tools are self-contained, battery-operated hydraulic units. The older style of rescue cutters, rams, and spreaders required setting up a remote generator-driven hydraulic pump that charged long hydraulic hoses that led to the tools. The new design is physically larger, but more maneuverable and quicker to deploy, Daly said.

“We have gotten new hydraulic extrication tools within the last two years — those are the tools we’re going to be demoing today. We’re able to come off a truck, get a tool, and get to work immediately, so we can help a patient much faster. It’s much quicker with these tools,” she said.