Today (4/19/2023), the firefighters of Rescue Co #1 had the unique opportunity to perform a task we are exceedingly good at (reducing a perfectly functional vehicle to scrap metal) for a very special audience.
In this case, our unfortunate victim happened to be a brand new Volvo C40 and our audience was none other than the company that built the car.
See, when a major car manufacturer invites you to their USA Corporate headquarters for the express purpose of demolishing one of their cars so their employees can watch during a corporate expo… You emphatically agree.
And that is how we found ourselves at Volvo USA headquarters (which happens to be in Mahwah) where we worked with the exceptional fire service training company, On Scene Training Associates, to show roughly 50 Volvo employees just how tough their vehicles are to cut up. Employees that included the CEOs of Volvo Cars USA, Volvo Sweden, and Volvo UK, both of whom were in attendance.
As a leader in the use of ultra-high strength steel manufacturing in vehicles, Volvo cars have recently been giving extrication tools a serious run for their money. In many cases, the cars are so difficult to cut that Rescue companies have needed stronger tools and new techniques to remove crash victims from them. A fact we put to the test today (without the victims).
An added benefit to this demonstration was the chance for Co 1 firefighters to cut up a state-of-the-art electric vehicle with the manufacturer’s engineering department standing right there to answer questions. That, of course, also prompted some interesting moments where the engineers described a relatively hidden part of the drive motors only for our firefighters to enthusiastically “explore” that area with blunt force and power tools.
It’s opportunities like this that lets our firefighters experience a new vehicle before there are any lives hanging in the balance, and we can’t thank Volvo Cars USA enough for making that possible.
Thanks is also due to the legendary Aaron Heller of On Scene Training for overseeing the demonstration, talking the audience through what was taking place, and showing us a few new tricks along the way for dealing with these new cars. The knowledge that he shared with us will be put to good use in the event we are dispatched for a person trapped in one of these vehicles.
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