State Farm donates vehicles for extrication training

State Farm donates vehicles for extrication training

By Christina Dimeo, editor

State Farm has donated five newer-model salvaged vehicles to the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Department to help firefighters train for extracting people trapped in crashed vehicles.

The fire department’s extrication tools still work, but aren’t as fast as they could be on newer cars. “New cars are constructed better than the older cars,” said Lake Monticello Fire Chief Richie Constantino. “The metals are stronger and the steel is stronger. There are tools now that are more effective on new car construction. They have more power.”

Constantino wants to see if his department can switch to these hydraulic tools, which include a spreader, which takes car doors off; a cutter, which cuts steel and metal; and a ram, which pushes metal out of the way. Each tool averages between $10,000 and $15,000. “It’s expensive,” he said.

In order to get a sense of which equipment the department would like to buy, Constantino and his committee have invited manufacturers to visit with their tools. His firefighters then use the tools on a donated vehicle as part of the training process.

“At the end of it all we’ll evaluate all the tools. Hopefully we’ll purchase them if I can find the funds,” Constantino said.

“State Farm has a long history of supporting law enforcement and fire departments because we appreciate their dedication to keeping communities safe,” said Kate Beadle, public affairs specialist for State Farm. “The training will help save the lives of crash victims and the first responders.”

Another plus to the new tools is that they are battery-operated and therefore very mobile, as opposed to the current tools, which are attached to the truck via 100-foot cords. “We’re going to have a hard time getting to a car if it’s more than 100 feet off the road,” Constantino said. “These hydraulic tools are battery-operated and we can take them wherever we want.”

Gary Albert, a State Farm agent who opened an office by Food Lion, said that his team is “proud to help support the people who take care of us. We’re grateful for these heroes… It’s an honor to be a part of this community, and [we] look forward to more opportunities to support Fluvanna County.”

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