Jennifer GriggFeatures Blogs Dispatches
Aug 24, 2014, Port Severn, Ont. - Teamwork. Our work is all about teamwork. In the hall, outside of the hall, on calls with our fellow firefighters or with other emergency services such as ambulance and police.
Aug 24, 2014, Port Severn, Ont. – Teamwork. Our work is all about
teamwork. In the hall, outside of the hall, on calls with our fellow
firefighters or with other emergency services such as ambulance and
It’s amazing how a group of people from various agencies, and even
bystanders – all people who you may or may not have ever seen before –
can come together to work as a team to help an injured person.
We responded to a call such as that on the weekend and I was impressed by and thankful for the effort of everyone on scene.
At a popular, local swimming hole, a girl had fallen off a rock about
six feet down into more rocks and a foot of water. She had a serious
gash in her knee and scrapes on her elbows and hands. We needed to
package her and get her back up to the top of the rock cliff – which was
about 12 feet up – as quickly as we could before she went into shock.
Two firefighters, two paramedics, her brother and her boyfriend were in
the water with her while two more firefighters, an OPP officer and
several bystanders were at the top of the cliff. The firefighters at the
top tied off our Stokes basket and lowered it down. The first paramedic
and firefighter treated her wounds, covered her knee with bandages and
gauze, and covered her scrapes, then packaged her in a Kendrick
Extrication Device (K.E.D.).
She was in agony. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone scream like
that. I can only imagine the pain she was in, and I did my best to keep
talking to her throughout the process, as did the other firefighter and
paramedic. But really, what can you say that will help to calm someone
in that kind of distress? If ever I’ve felt ill equipped, it was then.
But we did our best to keep her talking to us rather than focused on the
fact that we were going to have to now move her from the water into the
Stokes, and then carry her up to the top of the rocks before the worst
would be behind her.
Desperate to calm her somehow, I resorted to telling her to focus on my
voice and take deep breaths as I held her hand. I felt more like a
midwife than anything, but it’s what I was told when I was in labour all
those years ago with my daughters, and it was all I could think of.
We called to the bystanders that were watching us from the bridge above
to come around and give us a hand. With the four firefighters, two
paramedics and one police officer alone, it would have been near
impossible to get her up to the top. With all of the people that we had
to help us, we had her up the cliff in no time.
As terrible as it is when these things happen, it’s reassuring to know
that you can count on your fellow humans to lend a hand. Deep down, we
all want to help in whatever way we can, and the opportunity to help is
why we are attracted to emergency services in the first place.
I am very proud of the job we did today and of the bystanders who
stepped up to help. I also appreciated the thanks we got from the
paramedics after it was all over. Even though we are in this together
and just doing our job, it’s always nice when the other
emergency-services personnel acknowledge your efforts.
It really is all about teamwork, whether you know your teammates or not.
And I wish her a speedy recovery!
Jennifer Mabee-Grigg has been a volunteer with the Township of
Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario since 1997. E-mail her at
firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @jenmabee
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