MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS HAPPEN EVERYWHERE
Spokane Valley Fire Department crews respond to many types of motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) within our service area. These accidents occur on city streets, rural roads, state highways (SR 27 – Pines Rd; SR 290 – Trent) and I-90. They often involve one or more motor vehicles; sometimes motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians, too. When someone is trapped in a vehicle, an “extrication” response results in specially-trained firefighters called to the scene, using tools and techniques to safely remove the trapped individual(s).
RESPONDING TO THE ACCIDENT:
- Based on the information provided by the 9-1-1 caller, one or multiple units will be dispatched. Whether they respond “Code” (with lights and siren) or not is dependent on the perceived severity of the situation. For example, if there is a possibility of entrapment, we will send as many units for “Extrication” as we send to a house fire
- We will respond with our bunker gear on to protect us at the scene as well as high visibility vests.
- We will also have Law Enforcement and an Ambulance (AMR) dispatched with us.
ARRIVING AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE:
- Our first priority is scene safety; making sure that we allow a “Safe Zone”. The Safe Zone involves many things including:
- how many lanes of traffic we need to shut down
- how we park or fire trucks to protect our fire fighters as they work
- setting cones or flares with enough distance to warn drivers based on speed of oncoming traffic
- identifying hazards and protecting the scene from gasoline spills and other hazards
- If there are multiple patients, we will try to determine who is more seriously hurt, determining priorities for treatment and transport. This is called “Triage”.
- Sometimes we will lay hose lines for safety.
- Patient care is dependent on the nature of the injuries
- Patient transport (by ambulance) is determined by severity of injuries. For example, patients can be transported to the nearest hospital, the hospital of the patient’s choice, or to Sacred Heart Medical Center which is the area’s designated Trauma Center.
- A street, highway, or freeway can be shut down by Law Enforcement if they need to investigate the accident further based on severity of the collision.
- When passing a car collision, please SLOW DOWN and BE AWARE that the traffic ahead of you may stop suddenly. There are many subsequent collisions caused by drivers watching the firefighters instead of the road and vehicles ahead of them!