1. #1
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    rmoore's Avatar
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    Dec 1998
    Plano, Texas

    Default "Katrina" Extrications

    I know that the infection incident killed the firefighter but I'm not sure if it was a Katrina car or not. I'll check this out further. Meanwhile, I received this alleged 'notice' that includes mention of the firefighter line-of-duty death.

    For one thing, I thought that the insurance companies were totaling out these flooded vehicles and not allowing them to go back on the road. Anyway, here's the note being circulated around service centers and repair shops, FYI;

    Health alert issued over Hurricane Zone vehicles

    Technicians should take heed of a nationwide alert issued to emergency
    personnel emphasizing the risk of fatally infected cuts inflicted by
    “flood cars” from the Hurricane Zone.

    A Mississippi firefighter recently died from septic shock contracted through a slightly scratched finger suffered while extricating a victim from a crashed car.
    Last edited by rmoore; 04-15-2006 at 07:49 PM.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

  2. #2
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    MetalMedic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    The Home of Smucker's Jelly


    Having been a victim of some skin infection issues the past few years, I can speak from experience. You should ALWAYS treat any wound you receive at a crash scene regardless of how small and insignificant it may be. At your earliest convenience wash the area thoroughly and apply an antibiotic ointment to it and then keep an eye on it. If it begins to swell, turn red and becomes warm, seek medical attention. If red streaks appear spreading from the area of the injury, treat it as an emergency and get to a hospital. While the Katrina incident bring the hazard to light, it is worth remembering that NO crash scene is in a sterile environment.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  3. #3
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    Apr 2003
    Missouri City, TX


    The incident in Mississippi did not involve a Katrina car. The article that Ron is refering to is in the current issue of ABRN (Auto Body Repair News) magazine. The intent is to warn automotive technicians about the potential dangers they face when working on Katrina cars. The law that states that all flood damaged cars from the hurricanes must be crushed did not go into effect until mid December. Prior to that date vehicles were sold at auction or moved by the Insurance companies to other parts of the country. The law also has no effect on private individuals selling their own car. So the bottom line is that somewhere between 350,000 and 500,000 Katrina cars have been transported and sold all across the US. Another 100,000 to 250,000 vehicles were not reported and are still being driven because the water did not get above the seats. Here is a statement from NADA; "The National Auto Dealers Association estimates more than 571,000 vehicles were damaged by Hurricane Katrina and the damaged vehicles are likely to show up in areas of the country where buyers aren't used to looking for flood damage".

    Everybody from the CDC to my local microbiologist tell me that they can not predict the future health hazards from these vehicles or their parts. Many of the dangerous substances from the storms like heavy metals were not even tested for. The warning is valid and the importand thing to remember is to request a blood test if any unusual symptoms are present. The problem with Sepsis is that it is under-diagnosed because symptoms would not typically alert a physician to the need for blood work. According to authorities in Mississippi the firefighter that died went into the doctor and reported back pains and was given muscle relaxers. His injury consisted of a scratch to his finger. Six days later he died.

    The mortality rate from Sepcis is around 40% for healthy individuals and 80% for the young and elderly, so ALWAYS wear the proper protective equipment.

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