With new technology comes the need for new training. To aid in training first responders how to best use their extrication equipment in rescue situations, Ford Motor Company donated 12 vehicles to the Dearborn, Michigan, Fire Department and provided a sneak peek at the 2012 Ford Focus. The new Focus features a suite of advanced new airbags and extensive use of high-strength steel – including boron – as part of its improved structural designs to enhance occupant protection.
Ford is committed to educating first responders on new vehicle technologies to aid post-crash emergency rescues. Since 1990, the company has provided more than 2,000 vehicles to give first responders the opportunity to train on modern vehicles. Ford is also supporting PennWell Publishing, publisher of Fire Engineering Magazine, which is developing an extrication training video series that will be available to fire professionals nationwide in 2011.
In 2009, Ford training efforts included helping to stage the first-known emergency responder training event specifically focused on hybrid vehicles. Following the introduction of its first hybrid model, the 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, Ford began publishing emergency responder hybrid vehicle guides with instructions on how to quickly and safely disable the vehicle’s electrical and battery systems before attempting to rescue occupants.
“It’s important that our personnel have real-world experience using extraction methods on vehicles made with modern materials so they are best prepared to save lives at the scene of an accident,” said Richard Miller, chief of the Dearborn Fire Department. “Knowing their commitment to first responder training, we reached out to Ford and asked them to supply cars for this exercise so that Dearborn firefighters could train and test our new equipment on a broad range of vehicles.”
More than 100 Dearborn firefighters received training in December 2010 with new extrication equipment, commonly known as “the jaws of life,” that the Dearborn Fire Department obtained through the Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program. With roughly twice the cutting strength as the department’s old equipment, the new tools are more effective cutting through higher-strength steel, such as the boron steel used in the 2012 Ford Focus and other models.
Boron steel is one of the strongest weldable materials, allowing engineers to design parts that are lighter and stronger than ordinary steel, which means they help protect vehicle occupants while enabling fuel economy improvements. You can read more about boron steel in Ford vehicles by clicking here.