EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – They’re on the front lines when Oklahomans need help. But technology is ever changing, and a local class promised to keep first responders one step ahead.
Except the class never happened, and local firefighters are out hundreds.
The highway landscape is ever changing, and with the rise in electric vehicles comes new challenges for first responders.
“Like in a Tahoe, you have one car battery. Where as a Tesla, the battery’s the size of a car seat. It’s a lot larger, voltage is higher,” explained local firefighter, William Lawler. “Injury potential to first responders and firefighters is high.”
Handling electric vehicle (EV) fires and EV extrications is a delicate process.
So when William Lawler saw an ad for an “Advanced Extrication” class in Edmond for just over $300, he was all ears.
“I reached out, got approval through my department,” William explained. “Paid out of pocket, turned around and signed up for it.”
So too did Jarrad Edwards, who planned to make the Edmond trek from all the way out in Wagoner.
“This is a class that there’s not a lot of information out there about,” said Jarrad. “Not a lot of classes like this.”
Led by former firefighter Brock Archer, the North Carolina based company originally scheduled the Edmond class for last October.
Soon though, COVID took hold and delays started.
“In September we got an email that said the class had been rescheduled to March 2021 due to COVID,” said Blank. “In February, we received an email that said the class would be reschedule till April.”
But an April date was never set, and many tell KFOR this was the last they heard from Advanced Extrication.
There’s little information available on Advanced Extrication, outside of a BBB profile with a handful of complaints, and a North Carolina PO Box address.
Instructor Archer though, is reportedly well known in training circles.
“Like I said, he came highly recommended,” said William. “Lot of people recommended him across the country.”
Several first responders turned to Advanced Extrication’s Facebook page, sharing their frustrations.
Brock Archer, though, did return our phone call. He tells In Your Corner COVID was initially to blame for the delay, but it’s now a problem of scheduling and finding a new location.
“Edmond Fire Department now says their training calendar is too full to host the program. So, now we’re looking at using a local junkyard in the Edmond area,” said Brock. “We’re not out here trying to hurt folks, or lead people on in any way.”
When asked about the lack of communication, Brock said it was an issue he was unaware of, but one he wants to fix.
“Sounds like we’ve not done a really good job with our communication on this,” he added. “I’m gonna make sure that changes right now, gonna make sure these guys understand what they’re options are, and what we’re doing.”
For many Sooner state first responders though, the frustration only mounts.
To Brock Archer’s credit, local firefighters tell our team they received a mass email from Advanced Extrication following our phone call.
The email laid out three options for first responders, which included the opportunity for lifetime enrollment in online courses, or a full refund.
As for if the refund becomes a reality, we’ll check back.