When it comes to rescuing trapped people from cars, Fire District 3’s auto extrication-and-rescue team showed the Canadians how to do it.
Six members of the Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee team traveled to the 13th annual British Columbia Regional 2007 B.C. Auto Extrication Challenge at Courtenay, late last month. They competed against 16 other teams, including one from Fort Lewis.
The South Whidbey team took first in one event, despite some challenging situations.
“We took first in the unlimited pit, which is typically the most complicated. The level of accidents are more severe,” said Paul Hunsaker, a South Whidbey TERC member and incident commander.
“What we scored so well on was everyone working so well together with so much going on, and we were just clicking as a team.
“The command structure is the biggest scoring thing of it and ours was tight. We had the single highest scoring event of the whole competition,” he said.
The challenges the team faced included the loss of team member Bryce Lyshol; recruit Adrian Hawley stepped in. The team also had to face a scenario where a real person was trapped in the vehicle, Hunsaker said.
“In the unlimited pits in the states, they are usually so nasty that they don’t put people inside the cars,” he said. “In B.C., they just stuff a person in there, which makes it more realistic. They are really judging you on how well you are handling them, how well you are communicating with them. That makes for a more realistic setting and a more challenging event.”
Now that the team has returned to the district, they are in a rebuilding phase. Capt. Frank Mestemacher is retiring and Eric Unke is attending school, which leaves four people vying for two open spots.
“So we are bringing in two new people, which is good for the district because it exposes more people to TERC,” Hunsaker said.
Fire District 3 TERC team members include Capt. Frank Mestemacher, Pete Williams, Eric Unke, Adrian Hawley, Jon Gabelein and Paul Hunsaker.