Firefighters to compete in international competition

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

LADY'S ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - A group of firefighters from the Lady's Island-St. Helena Fire District are going beyond the duty to keep their skills fresh and residents safe.

They're training for the upcoming International Auto Extrication Competition in Canada next week. In each scenario, they get just 20 minutes to work their magic, using all kinds of techniques and tools to get the job done.

"We focus in on the victim or patient and then try to remove that vehicle from around them," said Lt. Joe Garvin.

Batallion Chief Eric Taylor is the team's incident commander and knows every second counts.

"It's a whole team concept where not one person means more than the other," said Taylor. "We all work as a team."

All of this extra training really pays off. Not only are they ranked number one in the state and sixth in the world, but when it comes to a real auto accident, they're prepared.

"We run a pretty good amount of wrecks," said Garvin. "This gives me the ability to teach my guys on shift, first hand when we respond to these types of calls."

"It allows us to have more tools in our tool box I like to say," said Taylor. "It allows us to respond with more knowledge and technique than before we started this team. We take everything we learn from when we travel and bring it back to the department and other departments."

"We're here three times a week, hours and hours we put in," said Garvin.

"We enjoy doing it," said Taylor. "We love to help the department be more efficient in what we do."

After all of this extra training, they're ready for the upcoming competition in Canada.

"We are excited," said Taylor. "We're a little nervous but we've done it before. We just want to represent our department, community and state the best we can."

They do all of this without costing taxpayers. All of the cars they use to train with are donated, so are many of their tools and their uniforms. They volunteer their time for training and in many cases, they pay out of pocket to attend conferences and competitions.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.