By: Captain Dave Carter
Fire Station #4
On Tuesday, January 26, units from Sandy Spring Fire Station #4 were dispatched for a report of a person who was having difficulty breathing on Shenandoah Drive.
Due to road conditions, Medic (M) 704 was unable to make it up Skyline Drive so they backed down to Patuxent Drive and let Paramedic Engine (PE) 704 go first. PE704 was able to make it up Skyline to Shenandoah Court and staged just past Shenandoah Court to allow the medic and responding plow from Fire Station #25 access to Shenandoah Court.
M704 was still unable to make it up Skyline Drive. The paramedic and officer from PE704 went to the dispatched address on foot through the snow while the driver of PE704 went to assist and dig out M704.
The patient was assessed and it was determined that she should be transported to a local hospital.
Plow725 arrived on scene but got buried at the bottom of the hill just past the address. They were not able to clear a passable path.
Additional resources were called for; a second transport (M704 threw and chain which was wrapped around the axle), a 4x4 to get the patient to the transport unit and a larger plow.
A second big private plow attempted to come down the hill as well and got stuck. We placed the patient in the family SUV and the son attempted to drive up the hill to then transfer the patient to a soon be waiting 4X4 (Brush Truck 724), but was unsuccessful.
Personnel then acquired a kids sled, put the patient on the sled and pulled her up the hill using ropes from PE704. Halfway up the hill a local resident arrived with a John Deere tractor which was then used to drag the sled the rest the way up the hill.
Firefighters stayed with the patient, pushing and keeping balance on the sled. We got the patient
to M704 for warming and further assessment while crew attempted to complete the removal of the broken snow chains.
Eventually a backup ambulance from Howard County arrived and patient care was transferred to them. The patient was then successfully transported to a local hospital.
This was a challenging call that required some ingenuity on the part of the crew to get the patient successfully to the hospital.