ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – Members of the Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad gathered on a beautiful Saturday morning to make a wreck out of a car during an extrication drill.

The drill, part of the squad’s regular training program, was designed to let both new and senior members experience working with the organization’s extrication and stabilization equipment in a non-emergency setting.


Chief Richard Huff (C) prepares to cut the passenger door off of a Saturn, while squad president Jerry Pandolfo (l) and member Bill Mount (r) look on.

“Removing injured patients from mangled wrecks is part of our mission,” says Richard Huff, chief of the Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad. “Using a vehicle generously donated by a borough resident, we were able to duplicate a variety of crash scenarios ranging from removing the roof to multiple vehicle lift procedures.”

The drill began with an in-classroom presentation on using the Res-Q-Jack stabilization and lifting system, followed by a brief outline of the way the multi-hour drill would unfold.

Members then went outdoors to make cuts, break windows, and examine how they’d remove a victim from a two-door Saturn.


AHFAS members Saranne Weimer and Bill Mount work to remove the roof.

Atlantic Highlands First Aid members at the drill used Hurst spreaders – known as the Jaws of Life – as well as various cutters and saws to dismantle the doors, windows, the roof and more. The team also incorporated into the drill a PullzAll Rescue tool that was donated to the squad.

In the end, the Saturn hardtop became a convertible, but the members in attendance were better prepared to help the community.


AHFAS member Paul Sully prepares to remove the windshield.

The Atlantic Highlands First Aid Squad is an all-volunteer EMS and rescue organization that serves the borough of Atlantic Highlands and occasionally the surrounding areas. The squad operates on donations from the borough and the community. The organization is also a member of the New Jersey EMS Task Force. For information, log onto www.ahfirstaid.org.

“I think everyone walked away from the drill having learned a little, and better prepared to face an extrication situation,” says Huff. “I’m proud of the men and women who gave their personal time for this drill. Thankfully, we don’t face a lot of these types of calls.  However, we must be prepared for anything. The community expects us to be there, and to be ready.”