At noon yesterday, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue's Central Beaverton Station 67 and 20 other fire stations in the District began chaining up their trucks, engines, and medic units with the knowledge that snow was on the way.
That preparation for cold weather operations enabled TVF&R crews to respond to 49 motor vehicle accident calls between 12:00 pm and 11:00 pm yesterday out of 196 total calls in the District's 210-mile service area in a 24 hour period.
TVF&R's Station 67 averages 7,000 calls for service each year, or about 20 per day. At the end of this morning's shift, the crews had responded to double that number, demonstrating the high degree of demand for emergency services as a result of the snow and cold weather. This number included three fire calls, six motor vehicle accidents, and 18 medical calls.
Within an hour of chaining up, Station 67 Captain Kraig Moisan reported that the crews left the station to respond to emergency calls, taking one after another. The first opportunity they had to return to the station was six hours later. One of those calls involved a six-vehicle accident on SW 185th Ave. in Aloha near Cooper Mountain. After attending to the injured, firefighters estimate they helped 70 motorists who ran out of fuel or became stuck in the snow when their vehicle navigation units directed them to travel over Cooper Mountain as an alternate route.
While Truck 67 remained at the scene to assist motorists, Paramedic Lieutenant Dan Mitchael and his crew from Engine 67 responded to a cardiac arrest. The patient did the right thing by staying at home and calling 9-1-1 when they began experiencing chest pain. In one moment, the patient was talking with a dispatcher; and in the next they suffered sudden cardiac arrest just as firefighter medics were walking through the front door. Using lifesaving technology and medicine that is on every TVF&R apparatus, the crew was able to get the patient's pulse back and transport them to an area hospital.
Station 67 continued serving the public's emergency needs during this snowstorm into the early morning hours. At around 2:00 am, Captain Moisan and his crew responded to a pregnancy call in Beaverton. The mother relayed that she did not think the baby was coming yet. Paramedic Captain Moisan and Firefighter Medic Jesse Fitzpatrick rode with the mother on the way to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. The Metro West ambulance had just pulled onto Hwy 217 North when, two pushes later, Moisan and Fitzpatrick delivered a healthy baby boy. As the crew was returning to the station from this call, they encountered two more stranded motorists on Hwy 217 South and stopped to push them out.
With a smile on his face and having just brought a new life into the world, Captain Moisan and his crews ended their busy 24-hour shift at 7:00 this morning. Leaving the station, he stated," I just talked to my 2-year-old daughter on the phone. She wants me to make her pancakes when I get home."
TVF&R shares this snapshot of our firefighters' afternoon and evening at one station with two important safety messages in mind for the public:
1. If you experience a medical emergency, don't delay and call 9-1-1 right away. Our 317 firefighter medics are trained, prepared, and carry medications and equipment to begin medical care in the home. Driving yourself or a loved one to the emergency room during a medical emergency, especially in inclement weather, may delay their care and put others in jeopardy if you choose to get behind the wheel.
2. As additional weather systems move through the area bringing more snow into the weekend, check out our winter safety tips at www.tvfr.com to stay safe on the road, outside, and at home. Also, please remember to check on elderly neighbors who may be more impacted by cold temperatures or housebound.