Burlington firefighters place well in auto extraction competition.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON, May 16, 2011 – On Saturday, May 14, the backyard of Burlington Fire Department’s headquarters was transformed into the scene of multiple car accidents as seven teams of firefighters from Ontario, the Maritimes and New York State competed in a high-intensity Vehicle Rescue Challenge.

Burlington Fire Department’s auto extrication team works to save a mock patient trapped inside a vehicle during one of the simulated scenarios in the annual Vehicle Rescue Challenge.  2011 BFD Team members are as follows: Mark Eales (Team Captain), Derek Baranowski, Chris Porter, (Medic), Jenny Blain, Ryan Head and Mike Carroll
Burlington Fire Department’s auto extrication team works to save a mock patient trapped inside a vehicle during one of the simulated scenarios in the annual Vehicle Rescue Challenge. 2011 BFD Team members are as follows: Mark Eales (Team Captain), Derek Baranowski, Chris Porter, (Medic), Jenny Blain, Ryan Head and Mike Carroll

Spectators gathered to watch as each team raced against the clock to complete a series of rescue scenarios and safely remove mock patients from inside the wrecked vehicles.

Fire departments enrolled in this year’s challenge included: Halifax and Enfield, Nova Scotia; Brampton; Mississauga; Chile and Brighton, New York; and Burlington.

“This event spotlights the skills of our city’s firefighters and their commitment to continuous learning,” said Fire Chief Shayne Mintz. “Putting our skills to the test through international competition will allow us to hone our expertise in motor-vehicle rescue so that we can better serve our community.”

This is the 27th year Burlington has participated in the challenge, and Burlington Fire has earned an international reputation as being one of the most respected departments in vehicle rescue. This year was no exception, the Burlington Fire Department came in second just behind Mississauga.

Top Medic Award went to Burlington Fire Department’s Chris Porter and Best Incident Commander was awarded to Trevor Shea of the Mississauga Fire Department.

“The Vehicle Rescue Challenge provides our community with an up-close look at how fire department personnel function as a team to perform vehicle rescues under intense pressure,” said Burlington’s auto extrication team captain Mark Eales. “Sometimes people forget that our jobs go far beyond firefighting. It’s competitions like this that demonstrate the expertise and teamwork that is vital in real vehicle rescues and saves lives on our streets and highways each year.”

The goal of the challenge is to help rescuers stay current with auto extrication practices and share ideas to improve life-saving techniques. The concept of the Vehicle Rescue Challenge originated at the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst, Ont., in 1984, with teams from across Ontario and the United States. Since then, this International event has grown to the point where regional and national competitions are held annually coast-to-coast in Canada and the United States and countries from Europe, as well as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand.

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