The lineup of vehicles that do the rescuing at emergency scene is familiar to those who see the big rigs idling, lights ablaze, when something goes sideways: E-One, Pierce, Seagrave, Spartan. The more immediate issue is what’s causing the rescue in the first place. The nation’s force of firefighters and EMTs spends a lot of time extricating injured persons from wrecked vehicles with restraint systems, deployed airbags, and now, onboard batteries that may be engulfed in flames if the vehicle catches fire. Volkswagen of America is doing something meaningful to keep America’s bravest ready when the tones start going off, by donating vehicles that will be used for training first responders in extrication and safety skills at accident scenes.
The image shows three hydraulic rescue tools that firefighters commonly use as cutters and spreaders when trying to reach trapped or incapacitated motorists. In the rear, we can see a Volkswagen Atlas, one of the vehicles being donated for training purposes, starting last week with the Berwyn Heights Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad, which protects parts of the Chicago suburbs. The first round of donated Volkswagens will have internal-combustion engines and conventional fueling systems to be augmented – presumably, when buyer demand manages to cool slightly – with EVs equipped with high-voltage battery systems for energy storage. Part of that training will teach firefighters and EMTs how to handle submersion, towing and powertrain deactivation in EV-involved accidents.