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Thursday, 26 August 2010 18:48

Drew Ford in La Mesa, CA Hosts Free Extrication Demo for Late Model Cars

Drew Ford in La Mesa, CA, held a free extrication demonstration and seminar on late model cars on August 5. I-CAR Instructor and Welding Specialist Toby Chess led the demonstration after giving a one-hour seminar on how to efficiently and safely cut through damaged and mangled late model and hybrid vehicles.

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Drew Ford put on the seminar for free in their collision center for any firefighters, EMTs, police and first responders that wanted to attend. The seminar was given free of charge thanks to seminar sponsors; State Farm Insurance, DuPont, Auto Club of Southern California, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, West Autowrecking, Ken Industries and the California Autobody Association.

“It’s self-serving; I know this training is necessary,” said Ted Stein, Ford Service Manager at Drew Ford, “These guys need to know how to cut apart new cars.”

Firefighters made up most of the crowd; the event had about 50 confirmed guests who had made reservation prior to the meeting but late comers without reservations were welcomed. San Diego area Fire Departments in attendance ranged from Campo to Elfin Forest.

“It’s hard to get vehicles in this condition to work with,” said Jack Glassford, an Elfin Forest Fire Department Volunteer. Glassford also said the types of vehicles advertised to be at the seminar were a real selling point for him to attend.

“My captain told me I should head down,” said Matt Faddis, a Viejas Firefighter.

The wrecked vehicles were donated from State Farm Insurance, Auto Club of Southern California and West Autowrecking. Several late model vehicles as well as two hybrids were available for attendees to practice cutting on.

“The structure of todays cars are radically different than anything you’ve probably dealt with,” said Ted Stein. Stein introduced Chess’ presentation and thanked firefighters who turned out to learn about new techniques in the industry.

Toby Chess’ presentation focused on how to work with high strength steel and some new electrical components found in late model cars, especially hybrid vehicles.

“Most of these guys have never had the opportunity to work on late model cars,” said Chess, who said he has taught more than 2,000 firefighters the techniques to quickly and safely work with new technologies found in late model cars in the last year and a half.

CDs of Chess’ PowerPoint were provided to attendees after the seminar. Chess’ presentation went over into how to completely cut power in newer vehicles, how to avoid the electrical components around a hybrid car’s battery and how to find the weakest spots on the frames of vehicles made with high strength steel.

“We put a lot of effort into this and we’re happy with the turnout,” said Larry Houk, Drew Ford Collision Center Manager and local CAA chapter president.

While all attendees seemed to understand the seriousness of the material Drew Ford also wanted to make it a fun night by providing a buffet-style dinner and raffle at the end of the night.

All extrication equipment was provided by Holmatro Rescue Equipment. More information can be found at

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