Opinion: A few years ago, I donated my Saturn SL2 to the Orange Volunteer Fire Department (OVFD) so they could destroy it.
I loved that car, but the lessons they learned from the unique materials and construction (“plastic” panels and Steel reinforced doors and roof) they were dealing with were worth more to me than the wonderful family memories I had of the car. Their experience with my car could save a life in the future.
On Tuesday night, under a full moon, the OVFD met behind station 2 and watched in amazement as (another) donated Saturn resisted the crushing blows from heavy equipment meant to give firefighters a simulation of a rolled over vehicle needing extraction.
On a normal vehicle a sledge hammer blow would cause serious damage, but the firefighter wielding the hammer got an unexpected response when it kicked back and bounced off the plastic panel.
Even the Hurst Tool was no match at first for the steel reinforced doors.
Saturn cars may no longer be produced (what a shame) but they are excellent learning tools for firefighters who must think outside the box when faced with a rescue extraction at an accident scene.
All of the men and women, veteran or rookie, had the opportunity to face off with the car during this very important training session.
On the other side of the parking lot the volunteer firefighters practiced their skill on stabilizing a vehicle and using air bags to lift it.
This practice is valuable at all types of accident scenes, not just vehicle rollovers, but in recent months it was used to lift a tree and bucket off a victim, and a collapsed deck off a woman.
The OVFD’s members are highly trained with skills equal to paid firefighters in other towns, except, Orange firefighters are your neighbors, friends, teachers, mechanics, store owners and landscapers who volunteer their time to help you.
Thank you for your dedication.