SPENCERPORT, New York — Doan Chevrolet is helping to demystify the ultra-high-strength steel frame of the Chevrolet Malibu and other new technology in General Motors' lineup for first responders to crash scenes.
Michael Gross, Doan's pre-delivery inspector and accessories technician, uses his background as a fire chief and a volunteer firefighter to create free seminars to help paramedics, firefighters and police officers understand how today's engineering affects rescuing someone in distress.
Also, he dissects GM's vehicle anatomy, including airbag systems, seatbelt pretensioners, high-intensity discharge headlamps and vehicle stabilization of hybrids and electric vehicles.
"Many of the first responders don't realize that if they cut the cable on an electric battery and the driver's phone is still plugged into the cigarette lighter, there is still enough current in that little lighter battery to trigger the airbag to go off, " Gross told Edmunds.
"Or if a fire department didn't know about the Malibu's ultra-strength steel, they might not have the right 'Jaws of Life' to cut through it. The quicker the patient gets out, the better off they are."
Gross is working on a similar presentation for Doan's Dodge, Chrysler and Fiat dealerships.
More than 100 emergency personnel attended the first Chevrolet seminar, which featured approximately 300 PowerPoint slides and various models with their hoods popped.
Some attendees, who had never been there before, returned in the following weeks to purchase a car or visit Doan's service department, Gross said.
"We have one ambulance company that gets all of their service work done here after attending and they drive by one, maybe even two Chevy dealerships to get to us," he said.
The information sessions were never to sell cars, though.
"It's about keeping everybody safe. There is no reason for our first responders to fear this new technology when doing their job," he said.
Edmunds says: Keeping emergency personnel informed of a car company's engineering upgrades not only keeps the community safe but also gives the dealership a sales-and-service boost.