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S.C. firefighter-EMT creates dash rollers to rescue vehicle crash victims

Brittany Nicotri found a way to increase the Burton Fire District’s capabilities at a low cost


Photo/Burton Fire District

By Leila Merrill

BURTON, S.C. — Burton Fire District Engineer/Advanced EMT Brittany Nicotri created a new tool that may help save lives, WSAV reported.

She noticed that the hydraulic tools firefighters use to remove accident victims from vehicles sometimes do not get a good grip on a dashboard.

So she designed her own.

Nicotri built five new dash rollers – one for each fire engine. Her husband, a welding instructor at Battery Creek High School, created each metal brace. Nicotri welded each entire tool.

“It allows us to gain access to the patient because when you are pinned with the dash rolled down on your legs there is no way to pull you out,” said Nicotri. “We have to get the dash off of you to pull you out and start medical procedures on you.”

Since two engines respond to every incident, firefighters can use the new tools to push a whole dashboard up at the same time to aid both front-seat passengers.

Last year, the district responded to a 35% increase in motor vehicle collisions causing injury, and a 175% increase (4 to 11) in the number of trapped occupants requiring rescue.

Captain Daniel Byrne told Fox28 that five dash rollers would typically cost around $2,000, but Nicotri’s design saves taxpayer dollars with a total cost of $140 dollars for materials.

“Firefighters are committed to service and are problem solvers,” stated Burton Fire District Chief Harry Rountree. “Engineer Nicotri has once again shown that she certainly possesses both, and during these tough economic times, she found a way to improve our capability without placing more of a burden on our taxpayers. That is truly service to community and others.”