OWL VFD is Governor’s Award Winner for Volunteer Fire Department Response

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Provided by Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department (OWL VFD)

Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department has been selected from many entries across Virginia as the 2021 Virginia Fire Service Award for Outstanding Volunteer Fire Department Response. This was a result of a call last June with A502, M514, E502, and R502 where critical quick decisions were made outside the box which resulted in the saving of three lives (and one cat).

In the early morning hours of June 27, 2021, the Occoquan Woodbridge Lorton Volunteer Fire Department (OWL VFD), Ambulance 502, and the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department (PW DFR) Medic 514 were dispatched to a residence for a caller who reported her daughter was having a seizure. Upon arrival, the EMS crew found the residence locked, and the caller could not be reached verbally or on call back by dispatch. The EMS crew concluded, based on the circumstances, forced entry was justified and added Engine 502 to the call.

The EMS crew continued to search for a way in and was able to crawl under a rear fence and find an open door. Upon entry the crew detected an odor, they exited and had the call upgraded to an inside gas leak. As the EMS crews exited, Engine 502 was arriving and made entry to conduct a primary search and quickly located one unconscious victim. They extricated them to the EMS crews who had already prepared their equipment to receive the patient outside the front door, this patient required breathing assistance (bagging). At this point Rescue 502 was arriving and entered with the Engine 502’s crew to conduct a coordinated primary search for additional victims. The first unconscious patient was moved to the Medic unit for continued emergency care while Ambulance 502 split their crew so they could both assist the medic and prepare for an expected second patient.Engine 502 located a second unconscious victim and extricated them to Ambulance 502 crew, who was waiting at the front door, this patient also required breathing assistance (bagging). Rescue 502 located a third unconscious patient and extricated them and began emergency care awaiting a third medic unit arrival because all EMS personnel were overwhelmed with the first two unconscious victims.

This call started as a routine EMS call, with only a basic and an advanced life support unit. Their experience allowed these crews to recognize the circumstances warranted further efforts and they took action without hesitation. Based on the facts and circumstances, this decision clearly resulted in saving three lives. In this incident the members of both OWL VFD and PW DFR worked efficiently together as a team bringing this to a lifesaving conclusion. Engine 502 and Rescue 502 contributed to the successful saving of a total of three lives by quickly searching and locating all three victims and getting them to emergency care.

By splitting their crew, Ambulance 502 was able to be prepared for the second patient immediately when they were brought out of the residence. Rescue 502 quickly located a third unconscious patient and provided the necessary emergency care crucial to saving of the life of this third patient. There is no question this multi-department team worked together efficiently and quickly to go from a routine EMS call to saving three lives. These persons would have perished if just a few more minutes delay occurred.

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