Mattawa Fire Department – District of Nipissing Paramedic Services Joint Downed Firefighter Training

On Wednesday February 9th, the Mattawa Fire Department, along with the District of Nipissing Paramedic Services responded to a report of a working kitchen fire at 450 Hurdman St. During the resultant firefight, T-O/Lieutenant O’Grady became incapacitated. Crews quickly located and rescued the downed firefighter, but the firefighter was found unresponsive. T-O/Lieutenant O’Grady was transferred to the care of Nipissing paramedics where they worked alongside members of the Mattawa Fire Department for 15 minutes to revive the firefighter. It is our pleasure that we report that the efforts of the District of Nipissing Paramedic Services and the Mattawa Fire Department were successful, and T-O/Lieutenant O’Grady was revived and is expected to make a full recovery.

Thankfully this was all just a drill.

This past week the Mattawa Fire Department ran a downed firefighter training scenario with the District of Nipissing Paramedic Services, as a culminating activity for their annual Rapid Intervention Team – Firefighter Rescue Training (Each year the fire department devotes around a month of training towards firefighter survival and rescue).

The night started off with a demonstration of downed firefighter CPR, in which the paramedics were able to see how we rapidly remove a firefighter from their gear, while still providing quality compressions. After which, the crew and medics were given a briefing from the training officer about the night’s planned scenario.

Crews were dispatched out around 19:30 hrs. for a simulated working kitchen fire on the second floor of the arena.

Pumper 08 responded as the First Due as a PAR 4 with FF. Brittany Rowan- Driver/Operator, FF. Amie Baitley- Incident Command, Captain Caleb Jodouin – Tak. 01 Nozzleman and T/O-Lieutenant Dan O’Grady – Tak. 01 Backup. Upon arrival, FF. A. Baitley established Incident Command and conducted a size up, after which she made the decision to operate as fast attack on tank water in the offensive mode. Pumper 05 was assigned as water supply and as a RIT (Rapid Intervention Team). And Rescue 07 as Staging.

Pumper 05 Responded with Captain Fern Levesques as Driver/Operator, with FF. Kevin Bittner as Truck Captain and RIT backup. Captain Troy Whalley was assigned as RIT Lead, and Firefighter Jeff Baitley was assigned as Search 01 backup.

As Pumper 05 was arriving, Tak. 01 had deployed their preconnected minuteman and began laddering Side Bravo to the second floor – In order to make entry to the fire room. Upon arrival, Pumper 05 assumed water supply and Captain Levesques relieved FF. Rowan as Pump Operator on P-8, with Command reassigning her as Search 01 Lead. RIT also began to setup their staging area at this time. Rescue 07 then arrived with Fire Chief Paul Lafreniere, followed by EMS arriving with Paramedic Mathew Lesnick and Paramedic Courtney Todd.

With RIT established, Tak. 01 forced entry on the second floor balcony door and made a push to the interior with Search 01 following closely behind. Chief Lafreniere assisted RIT with staging medical gear at the RIT staging area, while RIT set up a secondary ladder next to the first – due to no secondary access available on the structure. Tak. 01 arrived at the kitchen entrance and reported heavy fire and smoke upon opening the door and began their push to the seat of the fire. At this time Search 01 was beginning their right hand primary search at the balcony door.

With Tak 01 pushing to the seat, T-O/Lieutenant O’Grady went back on the line to pull more hose to make a stockpile at the kitchen entrance, in order to allow for a deeper advance. During this task he became incapacitated from a medical event and fell off the line. He ended up coming to rest in one of the washrooms, where his PASS Alarm activated. Search 01 notified Command of an activated PASS and reported that they were trying to ascertain the issue. Through communication with Tak. 01, Search 01 decided to call a Mayday for a possible down and missing firefighter. Incident Command issued priority traffic tones approximately 7 minutes after arrival.

Command reassigned Search 01 as RIT 02, tasking them to search for the downed firefighter and Tak. 01 began to make a retreat from the fire room. Command then instructed RIT 01 to make provisions for a rescue on the Bravo balcony. Command also notified EMS of a possible downed firefighter. Search 01 located the downed firefighter approximately 90 seconds after the initial PASS activation, and it was relayed to Command that the firefighter was non-responsive. RIT 02 packaged the downed firefighter and removed him to the balcony where RIT 01 was staged. The firefighter was lifted over the balcony rail and was taken down the ladder to the ground where RIT 01 and 02 began to administer downed firefighter CPR.

Once the downed firefighter was pulled from his gear, Paramedics Lesnick and Todd quickly assessed the firefighter, and it was found that T-O/Lieutenant O’Grady was pulseless. The paramedics instructed FF. Bittner to continue with compressions as the rest of the crew prepared to lift the firefighter to the stretcher. T-O/Lieutenant O’Grady was loaded into the back of the ambulance within a minute of reaching the ground. Once in the back of the ambulance, Paramedic Lesnick ran an analysis, and it was found that the firefighter was in fibrillation and instructed Captain Whalley to continue compressions. Paramedic Todd cut away the firefighter’s clothes, making room for Defib pads to be applied.

The first shock was administered around 19:41 hrs. and compressions were continued by Captain Whalley. Paramedics made a call for a second firefighter to join them in the rig and assigned Captain Whalley to airways and Captain Jodouin to compressions. A second analysis was done, and vitals were taken, and the firefighter was shocked once again. A simulated IV was run to the firefighter, during which another round of compressions was completed. A third analysis was run, and it was found that the firefighter was in asystole and no shock was administered. Again, another round of compressions were done at this time and after the fourth analysis, a shock was delivered. A full 8 minute directive was run on the firefighter with no results. The firefighter was then transported to the Mattawa Hospital where Paramedic Lesnick, and Captains Jodouin and Whalley were able to successfully revive Lieutenant O’Grady enroute. An ECG was run to confirm a good rhythm and the scenario was completed.

Upon returning to the scene, crews cleaned, and repacked equipment, after which, they returned to the station to debrief and analyze the training scenario. Things that went well and things that did not were discussed, as well as the working relationship between the two agencies.

Training such as this is essential to developing strong interagency bonds, as well as allowing both agencies to view each other’s procedures and operations. The Mattawa Fire Department would like to thank the District of Nipissing Paramedic Services, and especially Paramedics Mathew Lesnick and Courtney Todd for volunteering their time to come to Mattawa for this joint training.

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