Thursday, January 8, 2009
New Rescue 7 boosts life-saving efforts
By BARRY BURLESON
They’re on call 24-7. They must be ready every second. Their top goal is to save lives. And they must have the proper tools to do their jobs.
For the Holly Springs Fire Department, a new Rescue 7 vehicle has greatly boosted that effort.
“With the old vehicle, we couldn’t carry some of our necessary equipment,” said chief Kenny Holbrook. “Now we can get all the equipment to the scene in a short time frame. That’s the biggest benefit. It’s just a big tool box on wheels.”
Storage space is plentiful – on the sides, underneath and even on top. There are extra air packs, ropes, backboards, Jaws of Life tools, blowers to provide fresh air if someone is trapped in a confined space (like a manhole), life jackets and much more. Rescue 7 has its own built-in generator to create its own electricity. And there’s a 9,000-watt light tower for work after dark.
“It lights up like a football field,” Holbrook said. “It goes 25 feet into the air and rotates. It’s like working in daylight. It’s a valuable asset.”
December 30 was not an average day at the Holly Springs Fire Department. There were 10 calls – one grass fire, four medical assistance, two fire alarms and three motor vehicle accidents. Last year, 2008, the Holly Springs Fire Department responded to 1,027 calls – an average of three per day.
At 5:27 a.m. that Tuesday, Rescue 7 responded to a wreck in the westbound lane of Highway 78 at mile marker 35. A North Carolina man was trapped in his vehicle after rear-ending an empty log truck, Holbrook said.
“After he hit it, his vehicle was attached to the back of the truck and traveled about 200 feet before stopping,” Holbrook said.
The victim was extricated using the Jaws of Life, and Holbrook said he was complaining of only ankle pain and other minor injuries. He was transported to The Med by ground.
“He was real lucky just to be living,” Holbrook said.
At 11:50 a.m. December 30, rescue personnel received a call to a one-car accident on Hill Street in the city. A lady ran off the right shoulder of the road, over-corrected, went across the lanes and in the ditch on the left side. The vehicle landed on its roof in an approximately 15-foot ditch.
“The water was a couple of feet deep and her head was in the water but not totally submerged,” Holbrook said. “We went through the window and cut her loose from the seatbelt and lifted her out.”
She was transported to Alliance HealthCare System.
“Within five minutes in the city, we can have it (the necessary equipment) there,” Holbrook said.
There was another serious accident four days earlier – December 26.
The fire department received the alarm call at 8:02 p.m. An accident victim had called using his cell phone. He was disoriented and didn’t know his exact location.
“He knew he was in a ditch and under a bridge,” Holbrook said. “It was first thought to be 309.
“Later he was able to give us a better description. Sheriff’s deputies found him (about 9 p.m.) and notified us.”
The vehicle was in a 30-foot ditch off Old Highway 4 about one mile west of Highway 7. The ditch contained little water but thick brush, Holbrook said.
“He was lucky to be able to call out because no one would have ever seen him,” Holbrook said.
The Byhalia man received severe injuries, he said, and was transported to The Med via helicopter.
“The vehicle was upright and he was trapped,” Holbrook said. “It was another case of where the equipment on board (Rescue 7) came in handy.”
The Waterford Volunteer Fire Department also assisted, he said, in a rescue effort that was “labor intensive.”
Rescue 7 responds to any type of accident involving injury and all structure fires.
“It’s a multi-purpose unit used for more than just car wrecks,” Holbrook said. “It shortens the gap – having all of the equipment on hand can make a difference in life or death.”
Rescue 7 is being purchased on a 10-year lease program – two-thirds paid by the City of Holly Springs and one-third by Marshall County.
“This vehicle benefits all of the county,” he said.
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