JIBC firefighting students help save the life of a teenager

FFTC Class 3 Students Save LifeWindsor Wong, Brandon Kaye, Lance Masocol, Kristoffer Nicholas, Matthew John from Class 3 of the Fire Fighter Technologies Certificate were first on the scene of a crash in Maple Ridge on October 28, 2015 (Photo & story by Richard Chu)

 

A 17-year old survived a horrific motor vehicle incident with the assistance of JIBC firefighting students.

On October 28, five students in the latest class of JIBC’s Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate (FFTC) were on their way to tour a fire hall in Abbotsford when they arrived on the scene of an accident at the intersection of Lougheed Highway and 287 Street in Maple Ridge.

The crash involved a silver pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old and a white pickup truck carrying four Chinese occupants in their mid-60s. The silver truck was wrapped around a streetlight pole, and the white truck had significant damage on the front passenger side of the vehicle.

Witnesses to the crash were having little success in trying to save the teenager, who was pinned in the vehicle.

Richard White, JIBC’s Coordinator of Fire Fighter Programs in the Fire & Safety Division who was accompanying the five JIBC students, saw that people were inadvertently rocking the truck as they tried to open one of the crushed doors. The additional movement could potentially have caused additional injury to the driver, so with emergency responders still en route, the team stopped to assist.

 

October 28, 2015 accident scene supported by FFTC students

 

Two students, Lance Masocol, 26, and Kristoffer Nicholas, 25, both from Surrey, went to check on the crash victims in the white truck.

Matthew John, 21, from Burnaby, and Windsor Wong, 26, from Victoria, were tasked with controlling traffic.

Brandon Kaye, 27, from Langley, was tasked with helping the driver pinned in the silver truck. He climbed through one of the broken windows in the back of the truck cab and held up the teenager’s head to support his spine until emergency responders arrived.

“I was there for 20-25 minutes. I tried to stay calm, because I know I have to be calm in order to keep the patient calm,” said Brandon. “The last thing you want is for the patient to get nervous and have their blood pressure and heart rate go up in that situation.”

The occupants in the white truck did not speak English, so Kristoffer, Lance and Windsor did their best by using hand signals to try to communicate. One of the victims put his hand on his chest, indicating he had chest pains.

“I checked his pulse, and it was beating so fast, anything could have happened,” said Kristoffer. “But we managed to calm him down.”

Another woman was on scene who had a first-aid kit and an oxygen tank, and Windsor went to assist her by administering oxygen to one of the men in the white truck.

While Windsor didn’t speak the same Chinese dialect as the victims, the fact that someone of similar ethnicity was on scene to help them seemed to help reduce the victims’ anxiety.

“They tried to speak to our guys,” said Richard. “It shows the value of diversity in the fire service, to have someone patients can connect with. It calmed the patients down a lot.”

 

 

October 28, 2015 accident with FFTC students first on scene

 

Even after Maple Ridge firefighters, BC Ambulance paramedics, and RCMP officers arrived, the JIBC students were asked to remain and assist at the scene. Lance assisted paramedics as they stabilized the teenager, and Kristoffer was asked to accompany one of the other patients in the ambulance to the hospital.

Following the incident, the FFTC students received a message from the Maple Ridge Fire Department thanking them for their assistance. “Your group’s first on-scene medical aid contributed to providing the best service available to the parties involved,” said Bryan Vinje, MRFD’s Assistant Chief – Training & Safety.

For each of the students, who would formally complete their practical training a few days later, the experience reinforced the value of the education and training they received in the Fire Fighter Technologies Certificate program.

“The training really paid off,” said Lance. “We got on scene and we didn’t even have to think about what we needed to do; we just knew what we had to do. That’s one of the things I gained going through the program.”

 “You need the training and the good habits you develop here at JIBC,” said Kristoffer. “This experience was brand new to us, but the program prepared us for what lies ahead.”

Brandon added: “It makes you understand why fire departments are looking for people with experience – paid, on-call, volunteer firefighting – because nothing can prepare you for when you are on scene and someone’s life is one the line.”

 



 

For more information about JIBC’s firefighting programs, visit the Fire & Safety Division’s webpage. Stay up to date about the latest course offerings you’re most interested in and subscribe to JIBC’s customizable email mailing list.

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