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Firefighters train for big-rig extrication

If a cement truck collided with a passenger vehicle in your service area, would your members know what to do?

For the 80 firefighters who were at the sixth annual Big Rig Hands On Training Symposium (HOTS) in Nisku, Alta., in June, the answer is likely yes.

For three days, firefighters learned stabilization and extrication techniques for cab extrications, under-runs, overturns and dealing with cement mixers.

The event – hosted by the Alberta Vehicle Extrication Association and, this year, Leduc County Fire Services – is the largest heavy-vehicle extrication training in Canada.

Calgary firefighter and event organizer Randy Schmitz said it's important departments learn the differences between extricating passenger vehicles and big rigs.

“This course,” he said, “bring awareness to departments; they find out how underprepared they are when it comes to responding to an incident of that magnitude.”

Schmitz said most of the evolutions are designed for departments that don’t have access to heavy equipment. Firefighters are taught to use what equipment they have to execute the rescue.

Big Rig HOTS expanded three years ago to include a second training weekend in Strathmore, Alta., in September.

Learn more about Big Rig HOTS at

July 30, 2015 
By Maria Church

Firefighters at Big Rig HOTS in Nisku

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