I need help with a friend of mine who I volunteer with, he hasn't been right since a traumatic rescue in which a victim was killed under a car (story below). The volunteer is also a career firefighter else where so he's accustom to this day in and day out. I guess he's upset with man power issues and the way companies are spread so thin which is out of our control. I can't reach him, I've tried but I'm at a loss, he hasn't been the same to work with whether it's at the volunteer station or at his career job. It's been noticed by everybody he's around. He even says he's shook up but won't see anyone. Is there anything else I can do other then listen?
I'll call him Mike, he's the station prankster (let's say the station microwave ended up in the back of my truck one night somehow), always making you laugh, everybody is fair game to his verbal nonsense when he steps in the room. He's everybody's friend, father of 3, a loving husband. I've seen him like this before but it was years ago, now there we're older it's different this time. He's venting differently, we'll pitch different outlets to talk about but he keeps coming back to the same thing - the trail incident.
Names and Location have been changed -
A cold morning in the early part of February would start off like any morning, a BS auto alarm on the other side. Being a volunteer during the daytime hours itís rough, there's just nobody around. Myself, one other older exterior firefighter, and the driver would race to the other side of town for the auto alarm. 20 minutes later we were back and of course the station empty, nobody else showed up. I was backing in the truck when sure as S*** the tones went out for one of those catastrophic calls, an MVA with a person trapped under the vehicle. The address came in on the opposite side of town by the station where Mike was alone. We immediately loaded up and left, just the three of us, Mike then went enroute by himself. Our ride was going to be a lot longer then Mikeís, I looked in the back of cab at the exterior firefighter, he's a good guy, trustworthy, I can depend on him, the driver, more geared towards other things in the fire service was still a good guy I could depend on, Mike, I wouldn't want anybody else, he's just amazing.
Well Mike goes on location in the area that was called in with nothing showing, this is always typical as cell phone hero's never knowing where the hell they are when calling 911 for this stretch of road. Mike had to make a split decision and history usually tells us to go straight instead of turning left, so Mike went straight screaming down the road with the ladder truck. The radio was growing quiet, there were no updates, we ended up passing and ambulance who was going the wrong direction to the same call (Fire and EMS are dispatched on separate channels) so itís just turning into a cluster f*** , it all of a sudden didn't seem that serious of a call since no car had been found and everybody was going different directions, the information just didnít match up, my guard started to drop a little.... nope, wrong, very wrong.
The cell phone hero had grotesquely given the wrong address by over a mile at the wrong intersection on the wrong road delaying everybodyís response, Mike had to whip a ladder truck around on a 4 lane highway with traffic present, you could tell in his voice he was excited, this is where his day started to fall apart, Mike should have gone left (I donít think he blames himself for that at all but it may add to his frustration).
Now the updates we're flooding in from the police who found it conforming a person trapped turning blue gasping for air under a vehicle.
S*** S*** S*** S***, this is bad.... there's only 4 of us going to something we need an army for.
Minutes later Mike would pulled up having to weave a ladder truck around the several cop cars who parked right in the way, that bothered my more then Mike but he was able pull the ladder right up next to the vehicle. Mike then pulled the hurst tool and pump off the ladder by himself and began to set up to lift the vehicle. He was afraid of doing the same thing the ESU in NYC where the vehicle fell on the victim because the hurst tool rolled, he didn't want this car to shift and drop as well.
At this point we pulled into the scene, I can see Mike trying to get that pump which weighs a ton plus the hurst tool into place. I grab the high lift jack off the back and hook a wheel and begin to start lifting the vehicle. Everybody from the medics to the police are screaming we need this and that, I see Mike crawling under the vehicle trying to reach the victim. It's chaos, no command structure, no officers, we're all running around trying to do what we think is the right thing. Finally some order as I start directing others around me, I tell the other two I came with to get cribbing, order police to get a hose line stretched out, Mike is trying to talk to me, the medics swarming around trying to get leads on the victim, things are moving so fast but time is just standing still.
It's obvious, he's dead at least to me this victim, he's gone. But not to Mike, his passion for saving lives is strong, I can tell he's trying everything to get this person out. The victim is wrapped around parts, clothing is caught everywhere. Mike is cutting and chopping at what he can, he's reluctant to leave to let the medic in to check for a pulse.
The victim is declared right then, it's over, we did what we could.
To me the victim looked like he was gone from the start and we didnít have a chance. It was just that personís day to leave this world and we did everything we could. But not Mike, he feels that if we had better tools and more man power that this victim could have been saved. Itís an old argument that weíve been having for years.
I donít want to sound cold but for me I just do my best with what Iíve got Ė you win some you lose some, Mike on the other hand has been struggling with it since that day venting is frustration over something that maybe I missed. He says itís over manpower issues and the tools that are too heavy for just one guy, and heís right. Weíve been down this road before I just donít know why this incident is getting to him so badly.
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03-01-2014, 09:50 AM #1
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Support Help Needed With a Firefighter Struggling After a Call Weeks Ago
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