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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two-Hatting

Originally posted 7/28/2009, removed during a spate of paranoid content cleanup 5/26/2010, and now re-posted after some review and editing.

Got home from the night shift at the power company at about 0620. Wasn't asleep long when the call came in. Unknown injury accident, vehicle on fire.

It is in 51's first-due, which means me. Meh. I like sleep, and could really use it right now.

As a general rule, due to my location and lack of members nearby, I usually roll alone. Help is coming, though, from the next station over which is staffed full time.

Oops.... forgot, the engine was out for maintenance and no reserve in its place. All I've got is the brush/EMS squad. So be it.

Brush51 has arrived and is Command. One car upside down off the road, fire coming from the engine compartment, There is a damaged pole with wires down on the road. Unknown patient status, investigating. Need the power company, and law enforcement for traffic.

I hate running alone sometimes. There is just too much crap to do by yourself.

I was able to quickly determine that the car was empty, and was told that the driver had walked away somewhere, telling bystanders she was 'fine'. With no one trapped and no exposures to speak of, I was not nearly as concerned about the fire as I was about the lines and adjacent poles holding the weight up. But, the sheared-off pole ended up being a guy wire support pole, the draped wires are just the three guy wires attached to it. None of the 3-phase primary on the other side of the road is damaged, and the fallen guy wires are nowhere near the primary or neutral, so there is no immediate danger from them.

I was two-hatting... power company guy in turnouts, studying the poles and wires while the car burned merrily away.... the fire at that point was of no serious consequence to me beyond keeping people away from it.

I assigned the first-due engine to deal with the fire while I finished surveying the scene and looked for the driver. They arrived a minute or so later and took care of that business. I tracked down the driver, a pleasant young lady who claimed falling asleep at the wheel, refusing treatment.

I returned most of the troops, transforming the scene mostly into a law enforcement event. Besides, I was more than happy to turn control over to them. Without an ongoing fire or a patient, there wasn't much reason for us to be around, but we were happy to provide big BRTs to block traffic.

The young lady presented to all of us (brothers in blue included) as coherent and lucid, not to mention lucky. Then, one of the officers on scene, in spite of the early morning hour, picked up something on his cop spidey sense, and decided maybe a FST was in order.

She failed. Apparently from the residuals of beverages consumed the night prior. At the BAC level she blew, most of us would show the effects. This young lady was not of legal age, either. Practice a lot? And seriously... it's 0730. What was that BAC at the end of the party?

But wait, that's not all. Young lady then admitted that this is the second time she has walked away from a totaled vehicle.

Young lady, you are out of chances. If you want to get dead, please do so in a manner that does not put the rest of us at risk. And preferably in a manner that does not require me to wake up when I am trying to sleep between power company night shifts. A little courtesy, please!

Anyway, two-hatting worked out OK this time, but generally is to be avoided. I know better.



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