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Ford Focus by Ford Motors imparts practical training to emergency first responders

The new 2012 Focus, which contains high-strength materials and advanced safety features and airbags.
The new 2012 Ford Focus by Ford Motor Company is being used to train first responders on modern vehicles

Since 1990, Ford has provided more than 2,000 vehicles to give first responders the opportunity to train on modern vehicles.

Ford Motor Company donated 12 vehicles to the Dearborn (Mich.) Fire Department and provided a sneak peek at the 2012 Ford Focus to help first responders train with their new vehicle rescue equipment. Ford is developing new materials and improved structural designs to enhance occupant protection and is committed to educating first responders on new vehicle technologies to aid post-crash emergency rescues. New Focus features a suite of advanced new airbags and extensive use of high-strength steel including boron. Ford also is helping take this training national by partnering with PennWell Publishing, the publisher of Fire Engineering Magazine, in developing a training video series on advanced vehicle extrication techniques, which will be available in 2011.

Ford Motor Company is using one new Ford Focus and a dozen other modern vehicles to help train first responders. The new 2012 Focus, which contains high-strength materials and advanced safety features and airbags, is the latest teaching tool to educate members of the Dearborn Fire Department on how best to use their new extrication equipment in rescue situations.

"Ford's goal is to design safe vehicles. But we also are committed to helping educate first responders who work to save the lives of occupants involved in severe crashes," said Todd Fronckowiak, Ford's manager of Government Investigations and Design Analysis Engineering. "For decades, Ford has supplied vehicles to fire departments so they can train on the latest vehicle technologies and materials with their increasingly advanced extrication tools."

Since 1990, Ford has provided more than 2,000 vehicles to give first responders the opportunity to train on modern vehicles. Ford is also supporting PennWell Publishing, publisher of Fire Engineering Magazine, which is developing an extrication training video series that will be available to fire professionals nationwide in 2011.

First Responders are being trained by new 'Ford Focus' and other vehicles to enhance their rescue and safety skills

In 2009, Ford's training efforts included helping to stage the first-known emergency responder training event specifically focused on hybrid vehicles. Following the introduction of its first hybrid model, the 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, Ford began publishing emergency responder hybrid vehicle guides with instructions on how to quickly and safely disable the vehicle's electrical and battery systems before attempting to rescue occupants.

"It's important that our personnel have real-world experience using extraction methods on vehicles made with modern materials so they are best prepared to save lives at the scene of an accident," said Richard Miller, chief of the Dearborn Fire Department. "Knowing their commitment to first responder training, we reached out to Ford and asked them to supply cars for this exercise so that Dearborn firefighters could train and test our new equipment on a broad range of vehicles."

More than 100 Dearborn firefighters received training over the past three days with new extrication equipment, commonly known as "the jaws of life," that the Dearborn Fire Department obtained through the Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program. With roughly twice the cutting strength as the department's old equipment, the new tools are more effective cutting through higher-strength steel, such as the boron steel used in the 2012 Ford Focus and other models.

Boron steel is one of the strongest weldable materials, allowing engineers to design parts that are lighter and stronger than ordinary steel, which means they help protect vehicle occupants while enabling fuel economy improvements. The Dearborn Fire Department training included a demonstration for city officials, including Dearborn Mayor John O'Reilly Jr.

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