| Apr 30, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - April 30, 2009 Farm Extrication training for volunteer fire fightersby Julie Druker

Volunteers from South Frontenac Fire and Rescue respond to an accident scenario during their Farm Extrication Training session

Volunteer fire fighters of South Frontenac Fire and Rescue gathered this past Saturday at Deputy Chief Tom Veldman’s farm north of Sydenham for some serious training that focused on typical accidents that occur in rural areas, and, more specifically, on farms.

It was the second time the all-day program was run for volunteer fire fighters and it was an important chance for them to gain hands-on experience in situations that typically occur on farms.

Veldman, who no longer farms his property but who possesses various types of typical farm machinery and implements, has regularly hosted the one-day training program called Farm Extrication Training.

The training engages volunteers in various types of scenarios where accidents involving people in a farm setting occur.

Five different scenarios were set up in a large field on Veldman’s farm involving tractors, trailers, harvesting machines, and fallen trees. The scenarios were spread out over a large field so that the response teams had no idea what each scenario involved.

The volunteers were divided into two groups and each had a chance to respond to the five different scenarios.

Veldman, along with Captain Farley Stevens, set up and ran the scenarios as close to real life as possible using life-size dummies as their accident victims. Veldman admitted that some of the scenarios were based on actual calls that he had responded to in the past.

One scenario involved a person trapped under a metal dump trailer. Another involved a fatality caused by a fallen tree. A third involved a person trapped in a corn harvester.

Volunteers wearing full fire gear were directed to the scenario location and had to quickly assess the situation, utilize whatever tools they had on hand and respond as effectively as they could. During the response, Capt. Stevens and Deputy Chief Veldman would occasionally stop the action to point out a more effective way to proceed.

Farley and Veldman would often alter the scenario slightly, adding to it other elements that the response team had to immediately adapt to. They would sometimes play the role of a distraught family member arriving on the scene or a paramedic asking about the medical condition of the victim involved.

Once the response team had completed their task, the group would meet for a general critique and discuss what was successful and how things might have been done differently. At the end of the day the two groups planned to meet together to discuss in depth the five different scenarios, compare notes and gain further insight.

Prior to the practical training, the entire group met in the morning to discuss typical farm settings and characteristics such as stored chemicals and open manure pits. They also covered other scenarios such as entrapment in confined spaces, high angle rescue techniques and patient care.

Deputy Chief Veldman explained, “We try to provide the training once every two years, especially because new recruits are joining all the time and they can often be unfamiliar with farm equipment.”

He summed up the importance of this kind of training. “Because South Frontenac is largely rural and farmers are pretty active in the area, we try to cover as many of the typical scenarios as we can.”

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.