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Once again in this column, we read a story of members being struck while operating on a highway. In this case, we have the very personal accounts of a medic who is a part of the Fort Worth, TX, 911 response system and who almost lost her life and a firefighter who witnessed the incident! Not only did she almost lose her life, but so did her partner and the firefighters she works with everyday. Of the many observations I made in working with the two readers in preparing this column was the positive relations that the firefighters and the medics in Fort Worth have…and how it provided a solid foundation for what happened after this incident – both short and long term.
This month’s account, to be honest, gave me goose bumps. I read a lot of these and this one hit close to home – because, again – this could be me or you!
Our sincere appreciation goes out to Fort Worth MedStar Medic Selena Schmidt and Fort Worth Firefighter Glenn R. Scarbrough Jr. for their outstanding cooperation in the preparing of this month’s column. We wish Medic Selena Schmidt and Firefighter Robert Woodle a continued rapid and peaceful recovery, as we do to all those affected directly or indirectly.
The writers wish to express their appreciation to: MedStar Medic Michael Hankins and Captain Donald Dean and Firefighters Jeremy Torres and Robert Woodle of Fort Worth, TX, Fire Department Engine 32, who were struck on the scene; Fort Worth Quint 23; MedStar medics and communications; Fort Worth Fire Department communications; and the officers and members of the Fort Worth Fire Department, Fort Worth Police Department and Fort Worth MedStar EMS for their incredible support and heroic efforts. Our thanks also go out to Brian Alphin for his photos.
As any of our submitters know, it isn’t easy to share these stories. But the fact that so many of you do clearly shows a type of courage that is absolutely making a difference in saving the lives of brothers and sisters on the job.
This first account is provided by our reader and the most critically injured member at this incident, Medic Selena D. Schmidt of MedStar EMS in Fort Worth:
We arrived in the parking lot of MedStar and unloaded our personal belongings. It was a beautiful morning, crisp and cool, and the sun was shining. Tracy and I looked for our partners while we went to the supply counter to check out our ambulance equipment, drugs and anything else we needed. Tracy and I said goodbye for the day and proceeded with our partners to our ambulances. We usually spend 15 to 20 minutes going through the stock of our supplies to make sure we have everything we need for our 16-hour shift.
MedStar is a third city service and we provide emergency medical service for the entire city of Fort Worth and 13 neighboring cities. In Fort Worth and the other cities, the fire departments respond to Priority 1 and Priority 2 calls, but they do not have rescue units or ambulances for transport; that’s MedStar. We see it all! Central station is our “only” station. Unlike the firefighters, who stay at the station until a call is toned out, we leave central station at the beginning of our shift and we are out for the entire 16-hour shift. Once we leave central station, we are assigned a post. A post is a designated location in the city where we sit and wait for a call to come in. Usually, we sit still for only minutes. There are approximately 40 posting locations throughout the city and we rotate from one side of the city to the other, based on where the calls are coming in and who is closest. Our posting locations are within individual fire districts and stations. Each unit averages 14 calls in a 16-hour shift and we usually work an hour or two past our shift when the system is busy.