Merit Award 2013
Pictured left to right: Chief Kevin McGee, Technician II Christopher Gant, Technician II Matthew McClurg, Technician II Luke Deatley, Technician I Michael Hendrickson, Technician I Keith Kraus and
Technician II Chanse Twyman (not pictured)
Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue Technician II Christopher Gant, Technician II Matthew McClurg, Technician II Chanse Twyman, Technician II Luke Deatley, Technician I Michael Hendrickson and Technician I Keith Kraus demonstrated tenacity and a dedication to their patient, saving his life and also protecting his quality of life.
Responding to a head-on collision, the technicians found a dump truck fused into a crushed and mangled Ford Explorer. Witnesses reported that the driver of the Explorer was alive and trapped in his vehicle.
The technicians found the driver conscious but entangled within the car. The only access to him was through a space approximately 18 by 18 inches wide. The clock was ticking on "the golden hour." Following a trauma, victims have the best chance of survival if specialized surgical care can be received within 60 minutes of the incident. It took 15 minutes to develop an extrication plan and gather the needed equipment.
Normal extrication tactics such as door or roof removal were near impossible due to the vehicle damage. The technicians made changes on the fly, deconstructing the Explorer piece-by-piece in the summer heat. 30 minutes into the hour, enough space was created to start an IV, a critical life sustaining treatment for trauma patients.
As the crew continued its exhausting work, a Medivac helicopter crew arrived and was placed on standby in case more advanced medical treatment would e required, such as an emergency tracheotomy or amputation.
Nearing the end of the golden hour, the patient's lower extremities remained entangled under the crumpled dashboard. A helicopter crew member called Fairfax Hospital to request permission for an emergency field amputation. Hearing this, the extrication crew dug deep, refusing to fail at rescuing their patient. The technicians found a way to push more of the dash away and wrest the patient from the crumpled vehicle.
The patient was transported by helicopter to Fairfax Hospital, arriving just over and hour from when the extrication began. He is anticipated to make a full recovery, with all limbs in tact.
For showing perseverance and ingenuity under grueling circumstances, and for refusing to give up on their patient, saving both his life and limbs, Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue Technician II Christopher Gant, Technician II Matthew McClurg, Technician II Chanse Twyman, Technician II Luke Deatley, Technician I Michael Hendrickson and Technician I Keith Kraus receive the Merit Award.
*The Merit Award is awarded to a public safety official for acts involving personal risk and/or demonstration of judgment, zeal or ingenuity above what is normally expected in the performance of duty.