Monthly Archives: January 2015

Dead Man’s Curve

Dead Man CurveEast of Salina, Kansas there is an “S” curve on Old Highway 40. It appears the farm house on the curve’s eastern lead-in was the design agent. The highway was built back in the day when a single property owner had strong rights – beyond everyone traveling down the road in the future.

Nobody knows when or who coined the nickname, but we can easily guess why this stretch of Highway 40 was given the name – “Dead Man’s Curve.” And most Salina medics got to see the why firsthand.

My experience happened late one night in the fall of 1989. My partner and I were dispatched to the curve for a vehicle that rolled multiple times and was resting on its top out in the field.

A deputy sheriff met us when we stepped out of our ambulance. She told us there was one with no injury sitting on the edge of the roadway, and a second person was under the vehicle. He was dead.

I directed my partner to the non-injury patient while I worked my way through the soft plowed field to the dead subject. My flashlight’s beam led me to the far side of the capsized ’67 Ford Falcon. This was where the patient’s head protruded from under the roof.

The face was turned rightwards. Skin was a light shade of K-State purple. As I took in the grisly sight, the unexpected happened – he gasped. I radioed my partner and the incoming rescue team the new finding – code red, not code black.

The next radio message was to the emergency room physician to secure a “Do Not Resuscitate” orders in case we couldn’t quickly get the patient freed – knowing our rescue truck’s speed was liken a turtle stampeding through peanut butter.

Conventional wisdom would dictate air bags be slid under the car to lift it off the patient. Problem was it takes a bit of time to get the equipment set up and activated – and the patient was no longer gasping.

I looked at the little Falcon and made a decision. To save time we would skip the air bags and simply lift the car off the patient. If the decision was right, we would give the patient a better chance. If the decision was wrong, we would be calling Ryan’s Mortuary.

The rescue team arrived and quickly made it to the car. Two rescuers squatted beside the patient ready to slide the patient out, while the rest of us positioned our hands under the edge of the roof top. On the count of “3” – we hoisted.

Up came the Falcon and out slid the patient. It was as simple as that. After a couple minutes of rescue breathing the patient’s own respiratory drive kicked in. The patient survived.

So what can we take away from this experience?

•First, it never hurts to double check important matters – another look, especially by someone more specialized in the matter, is a good practice.
•Get guidance from higher authorities if possible. A quick call to a higher authority helps ensure your choice and bolster confidence.
•Be willing to think outside the box. Standard procedures are great and should be the norm. But, sometimes the result of following them is a dead patient.
•This incident had a great outcome, but don’t judge yourself too harshly if that isn’t the result. Bad results don’t always mean poor choices. Sometimes it just wasn’t meant to be.

Simplified, it means asking the right questions, making the right choices, and luck.

Pop a Shot – Strap a Wrench ~ It’s Called Teamwork

popashot-premium-19 The man who turned an all-women’s college into a national small college men’s basketball power, Kenneth Curtis Cochran guided the Marymount Spartans to national prominence in the 1970s and early ’80s.

In 11 seasons, the Spartans won the NAIA District 10 title five times and finished second the other six times. Cochran posted a dazzling 401-118 record and his teams won 106 consecutive home games from 1970 to ’78 and were nationally ranked every year. He has been inducted in five different halls of fame.

Following his retirement from Marymount in 1981, Cochran invented the Pop-A-Shot electronic basketball game in 1982.

Cochran’s success in business were the same qualities he possessed as an entrepreneur. He knew how to bring a group of people together to get the best. It’s called “teamwork”.

Shortly after Ken Cochran retired he walked into R & S Precision Welding (where yours truly worked part time). He had a very crude model of a basketball game he called “Pop a Shot.” Cochran used the expertise of the welding shop owner, an electronics company, and many others to make a highly successful miniature basketball game. “It’s called “teamwork”.

photo (70)Fast speed forward to now.

El Dorado Firefighter Caleb Carson came up with an idea. His idea was a method to attach a fire hydrant wrench to the inside of the fire hose. Flat strap was coupled up with metal quick connectors called “carabineers.”

The first prototype didn’t work quite right. The strapping cinched down so tight on the fire hose that it couldn’t be removed without great effort and time. Time being of essence on a fire scene.

Other firefighters to the rescue. Captain Troy Jellison, Lieutenant Coby Spear, Mike Rose, and Tyler Graves all pitched in to help fine tune the idea.

The next model worked just right. The cinching problem was fixed. Entrepreneur Carson’s invention was a go.

It’s called “teamwork.”

*Italicized portion at the beginning of this story was taken from the Internet.

First EO Structure Fire – FF Caleb Fistler

FistlerThe fire on Warren Street last night was significant in more than intensity. It was also the first structure fire as an equipment operator for Caleb Fistler.

The El Dorado Fire Department is unique in many ways. One way is the capacity of how everyone must operate. A firefighter is a firefighter in larger departments. That’s not the case for smaller departments.

Caleb Fistler got to enjoy this wider method of operation last night. It was the equivalent of being called up from the minors.

Welcome to the majors!

Bad Luck Streak

Warren11 1The young couple has had a bit of bad luck of late.

For starters the rear end in the family’s truck went out.

Then earlier today the family of five went to visit relatives in Towanda. After the visit they discovered their keys had been locked in the car.

A family member gave them a ride back to their home only to discover all the doors on the home were locked. Forcible entry was the only choice.

Then came the worst bad luck event of the day.

Late night well after bed time the family was awakened by heavy smoke. They quickly took action. The baby and other two children were quickly grabbed and taken outside.

Once all were outside they called 911. Firefighters arrived shortly thereafter.

Firefighters quickly knocked down the major parts of the fire, but the complete extinguishment took over two hours. Firefighters had to gain excess to areas behind the sheetrock in both walls and ceilings.

Let’s hope the couple’s string of bad luck has ended.

On the good luck side the family pet was rescued by firefighters. He seemed to be doing fine.

p.s. Be sure and close outside doors when you leave a home on fire. The fire needs oxygen. The less there is of it the more controlled the fire until firefighters arrive.