Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Learning from tragedy

In June a volunteer firefighter and a sheriff's deputy were struck by a truck and killed on Rt. 17 in North Carolina near Camp Lejeune. The Marine Corps base was training with smoke which created an extremely low visibility area on the highway.

This article from tells the story.

"Nobody thought how dangerous it was to enter the low visibility area," said Butch Thompson, Onslow County EMS director.

Deputies and firefighters were directing traffic in the area due to decreased visibility on the highway because of fog and smoke from a gun range fire aboard Camp Lejeune when Gene Thomas, a volunteer fireman with the Verona Volunteer Fire Department, and Steve Boehm, a deputy with the Onslow County Sheriff's Department, were struck and killed by a truck traveling northbound on U.S. 17.

Out of a tragedy comes good. Efforts are being made to help fire, EMS and police personnel who are likely to be called into the area again soon.

Does anyone out there remember the days before the scene size-up was added to the assessment process? When I became an EMT in 1980 (yes, I'm old) the mantra was "Airway is always the first priority." The article refers to this:

"We're trained to go into an emergency and we think of the victim's safety many times before our own safety - now we have to think of our own safety," said Steven Conrad, deputy division head of Onslow County Emergency Medical Services. "It's going to cause a delay in getting to patients but it's much needed to protect responders."

From a tragedy comes progress. As we remember those lost, we learn. More EMS providers are killed each year from highway crashes than from violence.

Please take a moment to visit the National EMS Memorial service site for a quick reality check.

Stay safe.

No comments: