A Fusion of Forces: 3M Supplies Film for First Responder Initiative

April 20th, 2022 by Chris Collier

A tragic tally of 38,824 people lost their lives in traffic crashes nationwide in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) annual traffic crash data. That number marks the most fatalities since 2007, and the National Auto Body Council (NABC) aims to turn the tide. Teaming up with film supplier 3M, the NABC unveiled a vehicle that will traverse the Midwest and Southwest over the next three years to bring attention to the need for training first responders in rescue and extraction techniques on late-model vehicles.

NABC F.R.E.E. committee chair Kyle Medeiros and program manager George Avery unveil the demonstration vehicle during Collision Industry Week.

The NABC’s First Responder Emergency Extrication (F.R.E.E.) Demonstration Vehicle, presented by Genesis Rescue Systems, results from group efforts. 3M supplied film products,  Wrap OKC of Del City, Okla., installed the film, and branding agency Victory Management Group designed the paint scheme.

“We do a lot of work in NASCAR; we spend time designing race cars to tell stories visually with graphics and themes,” says Deborah Robinson, president at Victory Management Group. “One of our lead paint team designers worked on this project to bring some of that same thinking—‘How do we show the logos, artwork, and imagery in the best possible way.'”

(3M’s Films at Work)
• 3M IJ5100R Reflective Film
• 3M IJ180mC-10 White Inkjet Film
• 3M 8519 Luster Overlaminate
• 3M Scotchshield Security Film 50

The Ford Fusion’s arrangement features various 3M films—safety film on the windows and wrap and reflective film on the body panels. During the next three years, Genesis Rescue Systems will transport the vehicle to fire stations, first responder units, collision repair facilities, and tow companies in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

The Ford Fusion’s wrap features several 3M products.

“It’s important that these emergency teams have vehicles that are clearly identified, look good, and represent the community and [its] teams,” says Tim Boxeth, senior marketing manager – U.S. and Canada, Personal Auto Segment, 3M Commercial Solutions Division. “To have those messages visible on the vehicle during day and night is great. Reflective films used at night add a level of safety. That’s important for us …”

The NABC’s F.R.E.E. program offers first responders and rescue units critical information on the latest technologies and materials on late-model vehicles. Genesis Rescue Systems provides the instructors and tools for education events, which focus on live demonstrations working with high-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles. The demonstration vehicle’s first stops include Nichols Hills, Altus, Lawton, Tulsa, Muskogee, and Poteau, Okla.; Rogers, Ark.; Springfield, Mo.; and Dallas and Lubbock, Texas.

“If you open the door of this car, it will have cutaways inside where the first responders can visually see the high-strength steels and areas they need to be careful [with],” says George Avery, NABC’s F.R.E.E. program manager. “Whether it’s from an EV [electric vehicle], electronics, or airbags, this car gives them a chance to do that.”

This article is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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