As people with little or no medical training learned to stop bleeding from accidents or injuries on one side of Rick’s on the River restaurant, firefighters and experienced rescuers on the other improved their lifesaving skills on land, in the air and on the water.
Last week marked the first time since the pandemic that area first responders gathered in person for their monthly EMS Night Out training, said Christina Rauch, emergency medical services coordinator for Mary Washington Healthcare. She worked with Trauma Services, King George First Responders and Shannon Airport Medical Helicopter Service, PHI Medical AirCare2 to simulate a rescue session after a jet ski accident.
An 18-year-old ‘patient’, Sara Higgins, pretended to be bleeding and semi-conscious just by the shore of the Potomac River.
Lifeguards from the King George Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services deployed ‘Fire Boat 1’, a custom craft acquired in June. The $117,000 boat was paid for exclusively by state grants, not local taxes, Chief David Moody said.
People also read…
This is the first time King George has had a craft specifically designed for fire and rescue missions, as it is fitted with a 500 gallon per minute pump. In the past, the county has taken donated fishing boats and repurposed them, and it’s great to have a custom vessel, said Jay Hynson, battalion chief in charge of special operations.
While lifeguards typically tend to patients after pulling them out of the water, for the purposes of the exercise, Hynson’s team carefully placed Higgins on a portable stretcher called a Stokes basket and brought her to shore. There, at four different stations, rescuers described the treatment such a patient would need, whether transported by ambulance or helicopter to a hospital or trauma center.
Paramedic Amy Cantwell helped coordinate the script, breaking the call down into training segments where students can ask questions. In the real world, “we come and go so fast,” there’s no time for conversations, she said.
Rescuers in the training asked questions about the care provided on board the helicopter, how it is decided where the patient will go and how the rescuers on the ground can best prepare them for transport, a said Sarah Staley, a flight nurse.
Being able to network, meet people face-to-face, and build relationships with those she works with on a regular basis “was definitely amazing,” Staley said.