Once in a while, just when you think you are on your own, you realize that there is always an angel that is watching over you, helping you, looking over your shoulder, ready to step in when you are reaching your limit.....
I remember the first car accident that I went to when I became a fire fighter. I had been riding along on the engine for about a year but until you get certified, all you are allowed to do, is what they call "grunt work". That is, fetching, running, traffic control etc.
Well, about a week after I had my certifications and had received my EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certification, we got a call for a MVA, (Motor Vehicle Accident). I won't lie. I was excited. Of course, in a perfect world there would be no fires, MVA's etc, but in reality, they happen every day. Once one is trained, they want to use their training, they want to help, they want to make a difference. In other words, since these things are going to happen, we want to be able to be there when they do.
We were on the way to the accident site, which was on the interstate. Dispatch notified us that the rescue squad would be arriving at least 5-10 minutes after us, as they were finishing up another call and the next company was a bit further away. That's when it hit me. I was the only EMT on the engine.
We pulled over on the side of the interstate where a guy was waving his arms. There was no wrecked vehicle, Just him. I went over to him and asked if he was injured, he looked ok. He said, "Help Her." and he pointed to the woods. Then I saw, way down into the woods, the car was in a swamp, upside down, wrapped around a few trees.
I turned to the probie (that would be the person without his certs, you know, the same guy I had been the week before) and told him to grab the medical gear and meet me at the car.
I worked my way down to the car. It was an extremely steep hill and I couldn't help but think about how difficult it was going to be to get someone back up this long steep hill. By the time I got to the car, I was already breathing hard. It was one of those 100+ degree days, I had started out wearing about 50 lbs of gear. I did drop off my airpack once we had hoses ready( just in case the car started to burn), but even then I had on about 20-25 lbs of extra clothing. (3 layer coat, pants and helmet over regular clothes). Mix the extra clothes, the 100+ degree temp, the noon sun blaring down and the adrenalin I had rushing through me, and I was literally dripping by the time I got to the car. That is when I had to remind myself to relax, slow down and breathe. It's a hard thing to remember, but one of the first things we are taught is that if we over do it and wear ourselves out, we will be no help to anyone. AND, then we will become a liability.
SO, I rested, for about 2 seconds.
When I got to the car (or, what was left of it....as I had passed pieces of it all the way down the hill), it was upside down, the tires were still slightly spinning, it was smoking, the windows were broken out, and there, hanging upside down and still buckled up was the passenger. She was still breathing (barely) and unconscious...... .