Kowie Tow­ing helps train res­cue ser­vices

Talk of the Town - - News - ROB KNOWLES

Fire and res­cue ser­vices from Port Al­fred and Kentonon-Sea/Bush­man’s spent time at the Port Al­fred fire sta­tion re­cently to learn how to op­er­ate the Jaws of Life in or­der to res­cue vic­tims who are trapped in road ac­ci­dents.

The train­ing was the ini­tia­tive of De­wald de Vos of Kowie Tow­ing Ser­vices who recog­nised the im­por­tance of be­ing able to use the Jaws of Life, specif­i­cally over the fes­tive sea­son when thou­sands of mo­tor ve­hi­cles pass through the town and traf­fic ac­ci­dents are at their most likely to hap­pen.

“I knew my dad [Kowie Tow­ing owner Dirk de Vos] had ex­pe­ri­ence in us­ing the equip­ment and thought it was a good idea if our emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel also knew how to use it,” said De Vos.

Fire and Res­cue Ser­vices in the area have ex­pe­ri­enced an in­flux of new trainees and this train­ing as­sisted them with es­tab­lish­ing the cor­rect meth­ods of ex­tract­ing a vic­tim out of a dam­aged ve­hi­cle with­out harm.

The trainees were led by se­nior su­per­vi­sor Benny Mike.

“What we are do­ing here is re­mov­ing the ve­hi­cle from the vic­tim,” Mike told the trainees.

Mike showed his trainees the im­por­tance of prop­ping up the ve­hi­cle be­fore at­tempt­ing to cut sec­tions of it away.

“If the ve­hi­cle is on its roof, the weight of the chas­sis and en­gine will be sus­pended above the vic­tim, so care must be taken to sup­port the ve­hi­cle be­fore any of the ve­hi­cle struc­ture is cut away and re­moved,” Mike told the team, who learnt the se­crets of cut­ting away and spread­ing parts of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle to move it off the vic­tim.

All of the trainees had the op­por­tu­nity to get a feel for the equip­ment which in­cludes a cut­ter and a spreader, both pneu­mat­i­cally op­er­ated, there­fore a com­pres­sor and por­ta­ble gen­er­a­tor also forms part of the equip­ment.

The equip­ment is heavy but did not pre­vent fe­male per­son­nel from be­ing able to prac­tise with it.

“This is an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to learn skills that may be re­quired over the fes­tive sea­son,” said De Vos. “It may well al­low the emer­gency ser­vices to save lives.”

After the train­ing, Kowie Tow­ing served a braai for those who took part and wished them luck should they be forced to use the new equip­ment.

Pic­ture: ROB KNOWLES

CARE­FUL WITH SUP­PORT: Nd­lambe fire and res­cue ser­vices de­part­ment se­nior su­per­vi­sor Benny Mike, right, re­cently showed trainees how to han­dle and use the Jaws of Life, equip­ment in­tended to res­cue vic­tims of ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents who are trapped in wreck­age

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