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Lawton Firefighters practice rescue operations

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -The Lawton Fire Department is working hard to improve their skills in rescue operations.

They spent Tuesday morning at Checker Wrecker Service working on extraction training. They practiced freeing people from wrecked vehicles and got a refresher on all of the tools including the jaws of life, and using airbags to lift up vehicles.

"We learned some different skills to roll the dash when we didn't have certain parts of the cars that we had already taken off," said Langford. "It was good to look at that from different perspectives."

Collin Langford is going on three years as a firefighter for the Lawton Fire Department. He says extraction is one of the hardest parts about his job. It can take hours to get people out of a car, even with the jaws of life, but training to do it as quickly as possible is their goal.

"It's really nice to able to refresh on these and just to know in the back of your mind what you got to do, so that if you do have to use it, I'm not having to ask what do I got to do," said Langford.

This was a scenario where they had to break the glass and remove the car's doors to get the driver out whose legs were stuck underneath the steering wheel in an accident. Eric Troutman, Assistant Fire Chief says most of the firefighters learned these skills in the academy, but training more often just makes them better overall.

"Firefighting and this kind of work is life long learning and honing your skills because there's no room for error once we get on scene," said Troutman. "We want to provide the best patient care that we can and the most expedient manner."

Langford says he's never had to work a horrific accident like this with a semi on a car before, but after learning to use cribbing and airbags to lift the semi off the car, he's confident he can apply it in a real situation.

"For us, it saves lives," said Langford. "Time is of the essence in this."

This is the first time the Lawton Fire Department has done extraction training in about a year, but now they say they will continue to do this every few months to be prepared.

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