Stabilization explained after evacuation

One of several questions from an onlooker during the evacuation, treatment and transport of two passengers in an overturned vehicle became an on-scene citizen education.   The question asked what was the function of what the citizen described as a “large car jack.”

The answer was “stabilization.”   This specialty tool is one of several techniques used by Newtown Square firefighters to assure that the vehicle will not move during the evacuation and initial treatment process.

In many accidents, emergency personnel enter the vehicle to aid in another form of stabilization.  The neck area of injured persons must be kept stabile in the rescuer’s effort to assure there will be no further injures during the evacuation process.

This jack or other tools such as a collection of wooden ‘cribbing’ pieces of wood are some of the tools used to assure the vehicle will not move during the rescue activities.   In explaining this process, Chief Doug Everlof explained, “Stabilization of the vehicle is a skill acquired during the many hours of specialty training recently acquired by Newtown Square firefighters.   To keep these skills fresh, many hours of our local training help maintain our training.”

Everlof’s comments also focused upon other aspects of rescues of this nature.  “The first form of stabilization is our personal stabilization.   Through the earned confidence acquired through training and experience Newtown Square firefighters easily achieve this first form of stabilization.”

Newtown Square’s fire chief added that the proper selection and application of the local Fire Company’s collection of rescue tools and safety aids, the second level of stabilization, that of the vehicle, is provided.

Assistant Chief-EMS Lisa Migliori added that once the vehicle is stabilized, firefighters and other EMS personnel can safely begin the final stabilization, that of the patient.   This stabilization often requires fire personnel to enter the stabilized vehicle and begin the early steps of patient stabilization.

In describing the most recent serious evacuation and treatment, Chief Everlof stressed, “The public sees only a portion of this specialized process.   Performing these skills is the result of good training and good on-scene practices and team efforts.”

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A specialized jack was used for vehicle stabilization during the recent two patient, Malin Road accident. Located between Chief Doug Everlof (left) and the wheel of the overturned, four-door vehicle (right), this jack was one of several tools used by Newtown Square firefighters in their stabilization of the vehicle.

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