B.C. rescue teams demo skills here Whistler firefighters host two-day event By Chris Woodall They'll be a-ripping and a-tearing like all get out to pull a dummy from a car wreck. Again and again all weekend. Sixty-six emergency services personnel from 11 fire departments and rescue societies from southern B.C. will be in Whistler tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday to show off their vehicle accident extrication skills in a regional competition. Whistler firefighters will host the lot of them in day skier Lot 2. A demonstration event was held Wednesday, May 6, at Whistler Secondary School to illustrate the fine points of what can happen when a car accident is caused by drinking and driving. High school students were recruited to be "victims" in Wednesday’s mock crash scene at the high school. Whistler Fire Department teams have taken home a pumper truck filled with trophies from competition exploits in Canada and the U.S. over the past several years. As hosts, Whistler's extrication team gets a bye into the Western Finals. At the two-day event, however, teams will have to work within the "golden hour" to rescue victims from a variety of car smash scenarios. The "golden hour" is the time a seriously injured crash victim has to be in a hospital operating room to ensure his or her best chance of survival. During competitions, firefighters work against the clock using power and hand tools to get the subject free, but also to maintain a safe environment for themselves. It can be dangerous in unexpected ways. Unexpanded vehicle air bags, for example, can prove lethal if they burst out without warning during an extrication. Whistler's firefighters have found that not only are they very good at this sort of work, but that the competitions are excellent ways for peers all over North America to share extrication advice. The "test of metal" runs each day from 7:30 a.m. and goes through to early evening.