A JAWS of Life demonstration was a highlight of a Sale Emergency Services Expo in Sale on Saturday.
In brilliant sunshine, SES crews from Sale, Morwell and Rosedale used hydraulic cutters and spreaders to safely remove windows and doors from a vehicle.
The demonstration replicated a real-life car accident, and how SES volunteers would respond.
Firstly, the car was stabilised and safety cones were placed around it to secure the area.
The windows were then covered with a Contact-like material that holds the glass together to ensure the windows can be broken and removed safely, avoiding the risk of further injury from glass fragments and dust.
SES Sale Unit controller Adam Townsend said the safety of people trapped in vehicles was paramount during rescue operations.
“(We don’t) just hack into a hunk of metal; there’s actually a strategic operation to look at what we do,” he said.
“At all times we work under the auspice of Ambulance Victoria in relation to how they want the patient out.
“Once they tell us that they want the patient out the back or out the side or whatever it is, the rest is up to us to do that.
“Basically we peel the car back like an onion and work on layers of the car.
“If we are going to remove the roof or the doors, the windows need to come out first, but we don’t just smash them and spray somebody with glass, we actually use a product called Packexe.
“It means the whole sheet of glass comes out as a sheet.”
After the windows were removed, the crew used hydraulic cutters and spreaders to remove the doors.
Mr Townsend said the expo was an opportunity for the public to see what the volunteers did and how the tools worked.
“The emergency services day was a flow-on from last year’s SES open day,” Mr Townsend said.
“It’s been a whole unit effort.
“The public could have an up-close look at the gear instead of seeing it at times of emergencies.
“It was also an opportunity for people interested in joining, but more so to showcase what equipment is available, not only within Wellington, but right across Gippsland.”
A range of emergency vehicles were on display and SES mascot Paddy the Platypus kept the children entertained.
SES Unit volunteers from Rosedale, Maffra, Moe, Stratford, Morwell and Sale attended, as well as members from St John Ambulance, Golden Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, Paynesville water police, Our Haven Wildlife Shelter, Traralgon and Sale Fire Brigades and Heyfield and Briagolong DEPI.