Local First Responders and Benner’s Auto Body Help Make New Jersey Drivers Safer on the Road Through National Auto Body Council® First Responder Emergency Extrication (F.R.E.E.™) Program

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NABC F.R.E.E.™ Program, Benner’s Auto Body, GEICO and Genesis Rescue Systems Recently Hosted Education Event to Demonstrate How to Extricate People from Today’s Advanced Vehicles

MEDIA NOTE: Photos from the event are available here

CHARLOTTE (November 29, 2022) – Driving during the Thanksgiving holiday can be daunting, but when drivers in eastern New Jersey have an accident, they can rely on the community’s first responders to have the latest guidance on rescuing accident victims from a late-model vehicle with numerous airbags, advanced technology or electric/hybrid engines.

first responders standing next to a wrecked vehicle as part of a special NABC F.R.E.E.™ education and guidance program at Benner's Auto Body

Benner’s Auto Body, located at 606 S Ave E, Cranford Township, NJ, hosted first responders from the Cranford and Westfield fire departments at a special NABC F.R.E.E.™ education and guidance program last Saturday, November 19, to help ensure New Jersey drivers have the best prepared response in case of an accident.

“We always want to help drivers in our area be safer on the road, and helping ensure that first responders are ready with the rescue skills needed for today’s vehicles is just one important way of doing that,” said Joe O’Neil, owner of Benner’s Auto Body. “With all of the airbags, advanced technology and electric batteries in vehicles today, it is challenging for first responders to get the information and education they need to rescue accident victims. By partnering with GEICO to donate the vehicles and Genesis to provide the tools and education, we can give our local first responders the guidance they need to rescue local accident victims more quickly. We’re proud to support our Cranford and Westfield fire departments with this program.”

The National Auto Body Council® First Responder Emergency Education (F.R.E.E.™) program helps prepare local first responder teams to rescue accident victims from these late-model vehicles. The program provides education and live demonstrations on working with high-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles.

The growing popularity of high-voltage hybrid and electric vehicles and the many safety concerns surrounding these vehicles makes this program a necessity.  Alternative fuel systems present different challenges when first responders arrive at the scene of an accident.  Electric cars, hybrid cars and natural gas vehicles have fuel systems that pose dangers for first responders if need arises to “cut” the vehicle for rescue.


The National Auto Body Council® is the premier organization of collision industry partners dedicated to strategic networking opportunities that positively change lives in the communities we serve. The collaborative membership of the National Auto Body Council® has gifted nearly 3,000 vehicles, provided extrication opportunities for nearly 5,000 First Responders and is helping educate students and adult drivers in communities around the country through NABC Recycled Rides®, NABC First Responder Emergency Extrication (F.R.E.E.™) and the NABC® Drive Out Distraction program. That effort equates to a 4:1 ROI in dollar value delivered from NABC® membership dollars. The National Auto Body Council® is changing the paradigm of how the collision industry works and is viewed. For more information, visit www.NationalautoBodyCouncil.org.