The National Auto Body Council earned a 2019 ASAE Power of A Summit Award for its First Responders Emergency Extrication (FREE™) Program, an initiative to provide first responders with the latest extrication training along with actual hands-on extrication practice working on late model vehicles with airbags and high strength steel.

ASAE honored the program that solves a significant problem – that first responders do not have enough experience extricating people from newer vehicles. Their ability to train on newer model cars was limited and extremely expensive; thus, their training was relegated to older cars and did not provide the experience of encountering new safety devices.

is a national program offered to members of NABC who wish to open their facility for the training. The classroom and live cutting extrication practice take place within members’ collision repair facilities which open specifically for this event, training 30-100 First Responders during a four-hour session. Responders can cut the vehicle using their own tools or ones made available for their use. With most fire departments having a very restricted training budget, NABC members provide this training and especially the late model vehicles at no cost.

By working with its insurer members, NABC was able to have donated very late model vehicles with the latest safety devices included in them so that the experience is real. NABC also works with members, Hurst and Genesis Rescue Systems in order to provide not only additional equipment to use, but also the expert, hands-on instructors who give the most up-to-date, non-commercial, training possible to any and all First Responders who want to attend. This training and hands-on practice eliminates wasted time at an accident when speed is of the essence. The classroom training plus staged accidents involve 3-4 heavily damaged vehicles, just as they might find responding to an accident involving injuries.

ASAE’s Power of A (association) Awards, the industry’s highest honor, recognize the association community’s valuable contributions on the local, national and global levels. The Power of A Awards reward the outstanding accomplishments of associations and industry professionals who work tirelessly to solve problems, and strengthen lives, the workforce, the economy, and the world.