Agricultural rescue class to prepare volunteer firefighters, emergency responders

San Antonio (June 22, 2004) – Emergencies involving people trapped in farm equipment require specialized knowledge and skills. The department of emergency medical technology (EMT) instructors and students from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, in conjunction with the East Central Citizens Forum, are sponsoring an agricultural rescue class to train volunteer firefighters and emergency responders how to extricate victims caught in farm equipment. The class is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 26, at the East Central High School agricultural barn, 7173 FM 1628.

Extrication specialists from the San Antonio Fire Department’s Station 11 rescue team, who are experts with farm equipment operation, are volunteering to teach the participants how to safely work around farm equipment, how to shut the equipment down and, if necessary, lift, move or rip it open to get to a victim. Tractors, hay bailers, posthole diggers and other equipment for the program have been donated by Bill’s Tractor Supply and Southeast Bexar County citizens.

“Working in and around farm equipment is a highly specialized skill and is not taught on a regular basis,” said Geoffrey Smith, EMT instructor at the Health Science Center and program organizer, who has been in emergency medical services for 14 years. “The volunteer agencies do not get the training opportunities that the big municipalities do and I want to increase public awareness about agricultural safety.”

Courses in how to get an ambulance to a rural location more effectively, snake bite treatment and basic first aid using household products will also be included in the class.

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