Roof-resting, Submerged, People Trapped!
Received a narrative from a New York State fire chief regarding a difficult incident they had. I want to share this scenario with all of you. It provides good details that would allow you to discuss this incident and what you would do if it were to occur in your district. here is the information...
"We had a very unusual car accident a week or so ago, and I wanted to run something past you because I have never heard of the proper way to deal with a situation like this. We had a single car accident on a rural stretch of road. Young kid went off the road due a distraction in his car of some sorts. He ended up upside down in a relatively large ditch that had several feet of rapidly flowing water. Somehow he crawled out the rear passengers side window by the time I got there (2 minutes from dispatch).
He was relatively fine, but what bothered me was running through extrication scenarios while we were waiting for the tow truck and cleaning up the gas and oil slick running downstream. There would have no way to access the passenger compartment except for going in the back window which was partially underwater and had a fast current going into it. I wouldnít have sent even my smallest of EMTís in there with that amount of water rushing in.
We couldnít have stabilized the car with our z-mag system or rut struts due to the fact that both sides of the ditch were all soft mud and were several feet above the floor of the car that was now face up."
My only thought was that we would actually have to winch the car out of the ditch with the patient inside to gain access if in fact the patient hadnít self extricated.
My reason for emailing you is this: have you ever practiced or do you have any SOGís on how, when, and where to cut into a car if your only access is the underside? The hazards are numerous and quite obvious, but what if that is truly your only access point?