The Challenge of Training: TERC U.S.A. provides education through competition

By Todd Netherton
Transportation Emergency Rescue Committe (TERC) Chairman

It’s happened to many of us: we pull up on a scene to see a body thrown through the windshield and a second vehicle as an under ride. As commander at the scene, your heart races and your first thought is how to secure those vehicles and safely remove the passenger from the windshield.

For TERC U.S.A., this is just a normal challenge scenario at one of several regional extrication challenges across the United States. There are many ways you can handle each competitive scenario. TERC strives to provide education with each scenario while providing departmental teams safe, effective, and viable options with the latest tools and technology. Each department handles scenarios differently using their training and knowledge. These challenges provide an atmosphere that allows any one department to witness up top 30 different vehicular accident scenarios. In the stands, teams collectively watch, analyze, and discuss what they would do for each scenario after finishing their scenario or before they are sequestered. It’s not often that a firefighter has the option to witness 30 vehicular accidents in a two-day period.

In today’s world of urban/suburban sprawl, a majority of fire departments handle many more vehicular accidents with EMS than actual fire calls. This is one of the many reasons that TERC U.S.A. prides itself on providing resources and education to departments across the United States.

In addition to the accident scenarios, most of the regional challenges and all of the National and International Challenges offer classroom and hands-on experience either before the challenges begin or during the challenges. Top-notch educators that are part of the organization–for example, Dave Dalrymple of New Brunswick, New Jersey, one of the leading extrication and new vehicle technology educators in the country, is the Chair of the TERC U.S.A’s Education Committee.

TERC U.S.A. is a member-run organization that started in 2002. The Executive Board of TERC U.S.A. is 100 percent elected by its members with Regional Representatives appointed by the Executive Board. Our goals are to ensure that education is the top priority at regional challenges and to make TERC U.S.A. a recognized name in extrication education and training throughout fire departments across the United States. TERC U.S.A. also works closely with its Canadian partner, TERC Canada.

For more information on TERC U.S.A. or to see if there is a regional challenge in your area, visit

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