Candia News

20 Car Crash Drill a Learning Experience for Local Emergency Responders
By Penny Williams    7-23-15

Crash drill “victims” began arriving in Candia early on Saturday morning, July 18, prepared to get their make-up on and bags of blood attached. Most had been bused from the Candia Fire Station to the “crash site,” at the north end of Old Deerfield Road, and the 35 live “victims,” including newly chosen Miss Junior Raymond, Maggie Paris, who was participating as part of a community service project, were ready to go despite the drizzle.

The “crash scene” was closed to regular traffic for the duration of the training exercise for first responders. It featured one car on its roof, another on its side, a tipped over school bus and several other vehicles, including a motorcycle, in various stages of collision. Spread among the wrecked vehicles were the 35 live “victims,” two mannequins and a fake severed arm.

The drill was held not only to train first responders on how to handle a multiple vehicle crash but to test how well they responded.

Included in the Mutual Aid response to Candia Fire were Deerfield, Raymond, Chester and Auburn Fire Departments as well as AMR Ambulance.

The “victims” were assigned their vehicles and arranged according to the severity of their injuries or placed as deceased. An Auburn Fire Department Training Officer took the lead in getting the victims ready for their roles. The last of the crashed vehicles was set in place by a tow truck and once that truck arrived back at the Candia Fire Station, the call to respond to the crash was sent out. Candia Fire Lt. John Seidner organized the fire department response.

First on scene were Candia Police Officers, who went to each vehicle to assess the injuries sustained by persons inside the vehicle or nearby. Before they had completed their rounds, the first of the Candia Fire trucks arrived and the call for mutual aid was sent out to the other participating departments. It didn't take long for all departments to reach the scene, with firefighters and police officers acting as first responders moving as quickly as possible to tag each victim so that those designated as most seriously injured could be treated and transported first.

The first responders also had to determine which vehicles required extrication of their occupants. Firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) went into action quickly and worked together efficiently, addressing the most seriously injured first, removing and covering the “dead” and preparing to start extrication efforts where needed.

Most worrisome was the tipped over school bus, which held four “victims,” one apparently seriously injured. Firefighters attacked the bus's rear escape door and quickly had it removed, along with the adjoining panel, so firefighters and EMTs could crawl inside to deal with the injured. They stabilized the victims and soon one so-called walking wounded was helped out of the bus and taken to the treatment area, while other firefighters and EMTs continued to treat and prepare the remaining persons for removal.

All around the crash scene, similar activities were taking place. Victims were extricated and loaded onto backboards or gurneys and the seriously injured were taken to a treatment area, where ambulances were lined up waiting. The walking wounded or those not severely injured were situated in one location to await treatment and transportation by bus to Exeter Hospital.

Throughout the drill, Auburn Fire Department Training Captain Ed Gannon, Seidner and several specifically designated fire and rescue personnel from the various departments monitored the actions and response of the firefighters and EMTs. The training exercise is only as good as the information garnered from the response and the determination of the strengths and weaknesses of the response, and Gannon and Seidner wanted as much input and information as possible.

Seidner summed up the exercise saying, "All the observers, including myself and Captain Gannon, felt the training was a tremendous success. We had four observers who evaluated the drill, who combined have well in excess of 100 years of experience in the fire-rescue industry, and all of whom are or were career fire fighters. We had better than expected representation from every invited department.

Candia sent 18 members in two engines, one rescue and one utility; Auburn had one engine and one rescue; Chester had one engine and one rescue; Raymond Fire had one engine; Raymond Ambulance had two ambulances; Deerfield Fire had one engine; Deerfield Rescue had one rescue; and AMR had two ambulances. Seidner said DHART (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team helicopter) did not participate because it was unable to safely fly in the inclement weather.

Overall the exercise was deemed a success and well worth the effort.

"I was exceedingly pleased with the teamwork, not just among departments, but between departments," Seidner said. "The crews responded with all the energy you would expect to see at a real incident, making the entire exercise feel like a real incident. We anticipated an on-scene time of 120 minutes, but all work was completed in 90 minutes.

Seidner said what the monitors and department participants learned provided information on what needs improvement. "We marked cars in color coded paint pens to identify the number and acuity of victims,” he said. “Unfortunately, the paint did not take well to the wet surface, so we will have to find another more reliable method of accomplishing the same objective. We had difficulty communicating with the bus drivers who were supposed to shuttle the patients with minor injuries to the ‘hospital’ because they were not equipped with a radio."

There will be more exercises in the future, according to Seidner.

"I would like to see a larger drill with a different scenario to continue challenging the first responders," he said. "No date has been set at this time. Preparation for this event has taken three months and required a lot of resources. We will need a little recovery time."

Photos by Penny Williams



Makeup for victims



Group victim shot with Auburn Training Captain Ed Gannon in front



Motorcycle - notice hand/arm underneath it



School bus with 4 victims on its side



First responder checking victim in roadway



First responders checking and tagging victims



First responder checking victim trapped under car



#8 - Firefighters working on removing bus door for rescue



Victim being carried away to ambulance



Victim being removed from bus



Firefighters and police working with victims



Jr. Miss Raymond - a victim not badly hurt



First responders checking victims trapped beneath car



A scene with wrecks and ambulances



Firefighters putting backboard in to remove victim



Firefighters triaging victims



Firefighters trying to rescue victims trapped under car



Victim on backboard just rescued from bus




Firefighters trying to extricate a victim



Firefighters using jaws of life



Firefighters removing a victim on a backboard



Firefighters Removing victim trapped under car on its roof 



Firefighters Treating hysterical victim



Victim on board being carried toward ambulances by firefighters



Victims at ambulance location waiting to be transported



Victim being carried down to ambulance loading area



Victims at the ambulance loading area being treated and checked before transport



Miss Jr Raymond and mother - victims not badly hurt - victim on road waiting



Victim being taken down to ambulance loading area



Victim being extricated from vehicle










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