Fort Detrick Fire Department
in Trench Rescue
The Fort Detrick Fire Department was recognized May 21 by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems for their assistance in a trench rescue in 2013. MIEMSS recognizes outstanding services provided throughout Maryland by first responders annually.
On Sept. 24, 2013, an excavation crew was working to relocate a water main in Frederick County when a caller reported a person pinned in a trench between two pipes, and the trench rapidly filling with water. By the time rescue personnel arrived, ballast had washed around the patient to his waist from the bottom of the trench. Despite excavation efforts, the water reached the patient’s chin. The victim was hypothermic, going in and out of consciousness, and needed self-contained breathing apparatus to protect his airway from rising water.
Rescue crews used pumps to slow the rising water while the excavation company increased the opening at the end of the trench, allowing more water to run away from the patient. Once a shoring system was in place, providers were able to access and treat the patient and begin extrication. Although one leg was freed, the victim was losing blood rapidly from the other leg still pinned below the knee. After three hours of rescue efforts, crews were finally able to separate the pipes crushing his leg. He was transported to R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland for treatment.
Although he suffered significant blood loss the victim was able to be discharged 15 days after the incident.