The City of Oakland Park’s Fire Rescue Extrication Team, “Team Carnage,” competed in the North American Vehicle Rescue Association (NAVRA) National Rescue Challenge. The team placed fifth in the Palm Beach State College Invitational on May 2 and 3 at Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth Campus. NAVRA’s mission is to prepare today’s firefighters and road rescuers for the extrication challenges of tomorrow through training, education, and competition.
The team participated on Tuesday, May 2, in a Limited Scenario competition, which simulates rescuing an individual from a vehicle without the use of hydraulic tools, and on Wednesday, May 3, in a Complex Scenario competition, which simulates rescuing two individuals with the use of hydraulic tools.
Assistant Chief of Fire Rescue Marc Vermont said, “We are very proud of our newly formed team and how much they have improved from their first competition in November 2022. This competition was so close that the top six teams were separated by a total of only 8 points. We look forward to the next event, which will be held in Miami-Dade County in November.”
The complex scenario had two patients trapped in the vehicle; where one was in critical condition and had to be removed from the vehicle within the first 10 minutes of the scenario, which was accomplished. The second patient was safely removed from the vehicle with only 10 seconds to spare in the 30-minute scenario. In these extrication competitions, there are six team members that work very closely together.
During the competitions, Incident Commander Captain Chris Lunt is in charge of the entire crew and makes all the tactical decisions. Four of the crew members worked together with all the tools and equipment to safely remove the victim from the car. The goal is to make the largest opening for the patient’s removal with the absolute minimum amount of patient movement to prevent any further injury. The sixth member of the team, Firefighter Paramedic Luis Wittynghan, provides medical treatment. His job is to gain access to the interior of the vehicle as soon as possible to provide medical treatment and also to calm and reassure the patient. Different types of blankets and hard panels are also utilized inside the vehicle to protect the patient from cutting tools and any shattered glass. In the competition, teams have thirty minutes of intense, coordinated, exhausting work, many times in extreme heat. During actual incidents, it could take much longer based on the complexity of the entrapment from the accident. The other four team members are Firefighter Paramedic Mathew Nelligan, Firefighter Paramedic Matt Amundson, Lieutenant Chad Charlock, and Lieutenant Sean Hallman.