News & Updates
Brinkman First Aid Responder and Cook Save Lives: The Miracle of a Chance iPod Malfunction
By Lumi Faucher
June 19th 2013. We are heading north to our campsite in the Stikine region, near the Alaskan border. Our convoy is spread out except for the trifecta, myself with the kitchen trailer. We are grouped together, close to getting near to getting less far from our camp (it’s a very long drive). The mountains are beautiful. For the majority of us it’s our first time witnessing such a landscape. Most of us will never see that part of the world ‘cause it’s so $%#@! far from any decent coffee place, which is a shame. We are on the lookout for our turn off of the Highway of Tears and the three of us drive right by the camp (Matt’s directions).
So Heather the cook is in front, Rob the Foreman and our level 3 first aider is second pulling the office trailor and I’m bringing up the rear. The three of us make a U-turn at a very safe and appropriate spot, ‘cause that’s what we’re taught in the resource road driving course at the supervisors’ meetings. All of a sudden I see from a far distance Heather’s van pulled over on the side of the road and she’s waving me down like she wants me to pull over and make out with her – an emergency – so I stop.
Turns out she had problems with her iPod so she pulled over. As she was trying to fix that critical technical failure, she heard screaming and moaning coming from the ditch. She took a look and found a truck that had swerved off the road and down an embankment that was about ten metres from the berm of the road. There is no way in hell anyone else could see that truck from the road. Only a chance iPod malfunction could’ve made someone stop at that particular spot, a very dodgy curve on a relatively unsafe highway.
So I head down the embankment to the horrific scene at the bottom, a destroyed vehicle with two people trapped inside. The truck had stopped on its side with a man and a woman stuck, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and no-see-ums, injured and completely dehydrated.
I run back up the embankment and get on the truck mount to call Rob who had just driven by. In the meantime, Heather and I talk with the distressed couple and try to figure out what the next move should be. “Bug spray, please!” is their first request. Then they ask for water. Forgetting the danger of giving water to people suffering from serious trauma, I run back up to the truck to get the water. Luckily Rob arrives in time (he’s fast for an old guy). “NO WATER!” he shouts, nimbly climbing down the embankment to assess the scene.
With Rob on site, he deftly takes charge. After ensuring that the scene was safe and accounting for all the patients, Rob has us call the air ambulance from our satellite phone and sends for help from the mining camp nearby, and within 15 minutes there are about 15 people on site. Rob, meanwhile, is handling the whole thing like a champ while Heather is helping by talking to the poor people in the truck. The air ambulance, it turns out, was going to be a while so with the scene under control, I returned to my truck and duty. Despite everything that happened we still had to set up camp and start planting the next day.
As it turned out, Rob had to stay on scene for four hours. The emergency responders brought in the Jaws of Life to rescue those two pilgrims from their truck. But they both survived with minor injuries, thanks to Matt Robertson’s directions, an iPod that miraculously stopped working at the right time, and the good works of Rob Atkinson.