Palm Springs First Responders Learn New Rescue Skills for Electric Vehicles to Keep Area Drivers Safer on the Road Through National Auto Body Council® First Responder Emergency Extrication (F.R.E.E.™) Program

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First-Ever EV Education Program Featured Hertz Electric Vehicle Fleet Cars and HURST/Jaws of Life Instructors and Tools

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL (January 30, 2023) – California leads the nation in electric vehicles on the road, and with that come thousands of accidents involving EVs and their high-voltage batteries. However, the first responders whose duty it is to rescue these drivers rarely get to train on these advanced vehicles.

Until now. The National Auto Body Council F.R.E.E.™ program teamed up with Hertz to showcase their EV rental fleet and the instructors from HURST/Jaws of Life to bring the first-ever EV education to the first responder community.

Tesla 3 and Tesla Y models at a National Auto Body Council® First Responder Emergency Extrication (F.R.E.E.™) Program event

Nearly a dozen first responders from the Palm Springs Fire Department joined in for a demonstration of the latest techniques in emergency vehicle extrication on electric vehicles, preparing them to provide the best response for car accident victims in Southern California. The demo, which featured Tesla 3 and Tesla Y models, focused on disengaging the electric battery, proper cutting points and safe extrication processes.

Ad from Hertz, NAC First Responder Emergency Extrication Program, and Hurst Jaws of Life - Making EV Drivers Safe on the Road

“At this event I learned a lot about National Auto Body Council® and their efforts to, as they say, ‘Change and Save Lives’,” said Matt MacClean, training chief for the Palm Springs Fire Department. “The NABC® First Responder Emergency Extrication Program is the program that will help us in the future to help first responders and Palm Springs drivers.”

Today’s vehicles are equipped with numerous airbags, advanced technology and innovative safety systems that keep drivers safer in case of an accident. But, these same safety advantages make it harder for first responders to rescue those drivers and passengers. Add to that the potential challenges presented by electric and hybrid engines, and first responders need a whole new arsenal of rescue tools and procedures.

“Around the country, we are seeing growing numbers of electric vehicles on the road, especially in markets like California,” said George Avery, program manager for the NABC F.R.E.E.™ program. “This was a great opportunity to provide an entirely new education curriculum to first responders and help make drivers safer on the road. Thank you to our partners Hertz and HURST/Jaws of Life for making this possible.”

The NABC 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 advanced high-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles. Since it was founded, it has provided education for more than 5,000 first responders.

Hertz, which provided the demonstration EVs, offers an expansive fleet offers zero- and partial-emissions EVs. Whether renters want to go full-electric or rely on gasoline to fuel only a portion of the car, they have a rental option, including Teslas.



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 more than 3,000 vehicles, provided extrication opportunities for more than 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