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Fire Department honored for handling of serious crash

Flight for Life says incident challenged all areas of response

July 21, 2010

For the second time in 16 years, Flight for Life has honored the City of Brookfield Fire Department for outstanding patient care and scene management.

After a Flight for Life helicopter landed in Civic Plaza on Tuesday, members of the department accepted the Scene Call of the Year award.

Each Flight for Life base annually recognizes a full-time department and a combination department for their response to an incident in the past year. The Waukesha-Milwaukee base recognized Brookfield for its response to a car-motorcycle crash.

"It was a pretty extraordinary call," said Claire Rayford, Flight for Life spokeswoman.

At 8:50 a.m. June 23, 2009, the department received a report of a crash at Capitol and Mitchell Park drives.

A woman pulled her car out in front of a motorcycle, which had been traveling at 60 mph, Deputy Chief Brian Petersen said. The motorcycle T-boned the car.

The driver of the car was trapped and had to be extricated. The two riders were thrown from the motorcycle and had serious head and other traumatic injuries. Two Flight for Life helicopters responded and took the riders to a trauma center.

"We are a tiny link in this chain that get patients were they need to go," said Janis Sierra, Flight for Life pilot.

After Jaws of Life were applied to the vehicle, the driver was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

In addition to the three patients, the department was dealing with a gasoline spill.

A panel of judges evaluated the city's response based on guidelines for utilization of air medical transport established by the American College of Surgeons and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The applications also were reviewed for scene safety, patient triage and treatment decisions, integration of the helicopter into the call and overall incident scene management and interagency teamwork.

"This call illustrates the importance of training, teamwork, communication, scene coordination and incident management," Rayford said in a letter to the department. "Most importantly, all agencies involved kept safety as their number one priority."

Neighboring agencies provided support during the incident.

The department received $500 to be used for education opportunities such as seminars or educational equipment and materials.

The department also received a plaque, two Flight for Life landing zone kits, an ad in Wisconsin AMS Professionals magazine, a feature article in an upcoming issue of Flight for Life's "Flight Rounds" newsletter and 10 free admissions to the Flight for Life Trends and Issues Conference in September and October.

In 2006, Flight for Life recognized the city for its response to the shooting that claimed eight lives at the Brookfield Sheraton.

Personnel honored

• Deputy Chief Brian Petersen

• Fire Marshal Dennis Hibbard (retired)

• Lt. Paul Yelk

• Lt. Tom Pollich

• Acting Lt. Nick Rogne

• Equipment Operator Greg Wagner (retired)

• Equipment Operator Karl Blaedow

• Relief Equipment Operator Jim Anderson

• Firefighter Paramedic Ken Blaedow

• Firefighter Paramedic Glenn Carriveau

• Firefighter Paramedic Mark Giese

• Firefighter Paramedic Rick Taczala

• Firefighter Paramedic Scott Geisel

• Firefighter Paramedic Steve Leger

• Firefighter Paramedic Steve Denzien

• Firefighter Bob Kaltenbach

• Firefighter John Lathrop

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