‘Best training you can get’: Dartmouth plays host to North American Vehicle Rescue Challenge

WATCH: Firefighters from all over Canada and the U.S. will be testing their skills against one another at the North American Vehicle Rescue Challenge in Dartmouth Crossing. Jeremy Keefe reports.

An international competition that highlights some of the best firefighters from across North America has made its way to the east coast.

The North American Vehicle Rescue Challenge puts firefighters in complex vehicle extraction scenarios in the hopes of preparing them for real-life events.

“This is probably the best training you can get,” said Wally Byers of the Brighton Fire Department, who started attending extrication challenge events in 1994.

“When someone calls 911 for an accident scene, it’s not the time to be training. So you want to be training right here.”

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Even though it’s a competition, the event is also an incredible learning opportunity,

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“We’ve got all kinds of different cars, so we’re learning about car technology, we’re learning tricks of the trades from other teams that are here from New York, Ontario, all over Nova Scotia, so everybody has their little tricks,” said Eugene Justason, chair of the 2019 North American Vehicle Rescue Challenge.

The firefighters are sequestered, then brought in with no idea what the vehicle and the situation is going to look like.

Justason says that helps take the shock factor away for crews when they arrive at scenes in real life.

“(Firefighters) acknowledge what kind of car you’ve got, how you’re going to respond to what you have, look for hazards, identify everything, where’s the victim located, how’s the victim entrapped, and how are you going to tackle the problem to get the victim out,” said Byers.

“It works really well. Sometimes you’ll go to the street and you’ll see the scenario that you had in one of the competitions, so you know exactly what you’re going to do.”

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The competition is running all day Friday at Dartmouth Crossing.

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