New Bern Firefighters Give WITN An Inside Look On Jaws Of Life

A group of firefighters begin to train. The scenario? A car overturned, with the driver pinned inside.

"Realism is very important," says Training and Safety Officer Jim McConnell. "Training like this, you can't beat it. You can read PowerPoint, you can look at manuals all day long and study on them, but putting the rubber where the road meets, that's important."

The victim is breathing, but he could have a spine injury. Luckily, it's just a dummy participating in this Jaws of Life drill.

McConnell says, "We don't want to make their injuries any worse. We don't want to cause any more harm to them. That's going to drive how we actually work around the victim."

First, New Bern firefighters break the glass.

"Pretty extreme," says Fire Specialist Stan Sutton. "We're working with a lot of heavy equipment, heavy tools, and you definitely have to be careful."

For this demonstration, our Alize Proisy got inside the vehicle as the firefighters worked around her. She says it's scary to hear all of the noises.

Sutton says they understand that it can be scary.

"We try to explain to the patient every step that we're doing," says Sutton. "That way they're not scared about what's going on outside. It is loud, a lot of chaos going on, so we like to comfort them the best we can."

Next, firefighters rip apart metal to remove the roof. They work with cutters to clear it, and then use the Jaws of Life to pry off the doors.

That path should lead right to the victim, who would then get the medical attention they need.

New Bern firefighters respond to a crash with a goal that they call the "golden hour." They try to get the victim to the hospital within one hour from the time of a crash.

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