Recently the Emergency Grapevine opened up a new conference thread titled: EMERGENCY RESPONSE- LESSONS LEARNED. I am pleased to report the response to this new thread in a few days has been inspirational to say the least. Here is a good example of the thread content...

Topic: Man down (1 of 2), Read 25 times
From: D Lewis (
Date: Friday, January 22, 1999 02:11 AM

This is one more than likely most people in EMS hope they never have. I was dispatching ambulances for a local company when we received a call for an MVA. The call came in as a single vehicle vs a power pole with the power lines down. Of course all notifications were made to have the power cut off. When the first unit arrived on scene a brief scene report was given, single vehicle vs pole lines down and heavy entrapment. A couple of minutes later a frantic and very shaken voice came over the air " 92 dispatch, man down my partner is down, he,s been electrocuted". Let me tell you this is one of the most terrifying and earth shattering things you could ever hear on the air. Two other units were dispatched as well as two medi-vacs for transport to the local trauma centers. After
arriving on scene the second unit dispatched came up and stated that the man down had been intubated by his partner and was now breathing.

That simple act was a true showing of character in my book it took a lot to get a grip on your emotions to tube your own partner that was dead for a short time and to work him till help arrived. Afterwards most of all of dispatch was relieved by incoming help and asked to go to an incident stress debriefing. It was at this meeting that I found that the person was not even close to the power lines he was by his unit and the electricity had jumped about 6 feet to hit him. I have dispatched for 5 years now and used to be a volunteer fire fighter, but this
is one thing I hope in the rest of my life that I never have to go through again. I guess the moral to this story is never underestimate electricity and remember that the ones on scene are not the only ones affected when something happens to those we work with.

D. Lewis