By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – More than a dozen Marlborough first responders gathered at Al Brodeur’s Auto Body Shop April 8 for training in the use of mechanical tools to extricate trapped patients from cars after accidents.
Organized by Al Brodeur’s, the event offered first responders one hour of classroom instruction and two hours of hands on practice using state-of-the-art tools to break windows, cut car frames and pry apart doors.
The classroom instruction touched on everything from airbag placement and safety to the positioning of reinforcements in a car that make the frame harder to cut.
“All the first responders really appreciate the opportunity to get some training,” said Molly Brodeur-Nesbitt, the primary organizer of the event. “They’re really feeling like there’s a need but there’s not enough information coming to them so that they can be equipped to handle the situations that they arrive at when they arrive on scene.”
In order to better equip first responders, instructors offered tips for efficiency and safety, keeping in mind the safety of first responders and the people they try to help. These tips ranged from being aware of undeployed airbags that could hurt first responders working in a damaged car, to tips on how to cut door hinges without breaking tools.
The April 8 event was the first of its kind at Al Brodeur’s in Marlborough. In bringing it to Marlborough, organizers did tap into an existing collaboration between Holmatro Rescue Equipment and the nonprofit National Auto Body Council to offer instruction to local first responders.
While it was entirely attended by firefighters from across Marlborough, the event was open to all first responders in any of the surrounding communities. So far, Nesbit-Brodeur said she is satisfied with the success of this year’s program and hopes to make it an annual tradition.
“It’s a way for us to collaborate with our community and provide a service that first responders really need,” she said. “They’re looking for training just like the repairers are, because the vehicle technology is changing so rapidly.”