|Plymouth Composite Squadron
Serving southeastern Massachusetts
Cadets Thomas Melucci and Benjamin Marble were on their way to Worcester from Hanscom around noon as part of a C.A.P. group of 5, including 2 seniors, 1 of whom is an EMT.
They were caught in a sudden traffic back-up, but they saw no emergency vehicles. Apparently a person driving a BMW tried to switch directions on the highway at a "no U-turn" opening and ran into a Toyota Camry going 73 on cruise control. Fortunately there were no fatalities. The BMW was facing left, perpendicular to the direction of traffic, on fire under the hood. For fear of explosion, the team made plans to remove the man trapped in the car. However the fire was extinguished by the seniors and a good samaritan, so the team left the man in place so not to injure him further.
While this was happening, Melucci noticed the people in the Camry were not receiving any help. He went into the woods to the car and checked on them. In that car were an older woman (approx. 70s), named Clare, and a younger man (in his 50's), named Tim, a mother and son. Melucci summoned the EMT senior, who had Melucci and a cadet from Hanscom support the couple's heads and necks until EMTs arrived with braces, about 10 minutes later. Melucci and the other cadet kept the couple talking, reassuring them they were all right. Marble helped the seniors and other cadets by managing equipment and supplies.
When the ambulances arrived, Melucci and the others helped strap the victims of both cars to boards and carry them to the waiting ambulances. Once all the victims were in ambulances, the team collected their gear, sanitized their hands and left. The experience took about 50 minutes. The senior members commended the cadets for their quick thinking, calmness and action.
Melucci and Marble later completed the mission and Melucci initially found the ELT. Marble found it the second time, but another team took the credit.
This experience illustrates why we must train for emergencies before they happen so we know what to do when they happen. There is no time for training after they happen
By C/Tsgt Chris Strassberger, CAP
On the afternoon of October 21, 2000, Five members of the Massachusetts Wing played a crucial role in the assistance of a motor vehicle accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
2Lt. Reuben Fischman, 2Lt. Robert Scudder, and C/Tsgt. Chris Strassberger of the Hanscom Composite Squadron, and C/A1C Tom Melucci and C/AB Ben Marble of the Pilgrim Composite Squadron were driving westbound on the turnpike, en route to a SAREX, when they came across a traffic jam.
As they approached, they saw a car that had just been in an accident. Upon advancing even closer, they noticed that only bystanders were on the scene. No EMS vehicles had arrived. The C.A.P. personnel immediately stopped to offer assistance. The only other people assisting were an off-duty fire fighter, an off-duty nurse, and an off-duty EMT. Moreover, they now noticed that there was not only one vehicle involved, but also a second vehicle, which had gone off the highway into the woods. 2Lt. Fischman, an EMT, immediately went to work. He took charge of the relief of the second vehicle.
All who drove by slowed down to catch a glimpse of the scene, which added an unnecessary safety hazard. 2Lt. Scudder directed traffic from the side of the road, in order to prevent further accidents.
After calling the local ground operations station to report the incident, C/Tsgt. Strassberger, along with C/A1C Melucci, helped in the relief of the second vehicle. The driver was relatively unscathed, while the passenger was more seriously injured. The off-duty EMT was stabilizing the victim, to prevent further injury. C/Tsgt. Strassberger took over this job for about twenty minutes to allow the EMT to attend to more complex matters.
Two ambulances and a state trooper then arrived. An ambulance from the Westborough Fire Department handled the first car, and an ambulance from the Hopkinton Fire Department handled the second. As a precaution before the two victims of the first auto were moved to the ambulance, C/A1C Melucci stabilized the driver. The passenger was moved first. C/Tsgt. Strassberger helped bear her stretcher to the ambulance, while also holding an oxygen tank administered to her by EMT's. As the driver was being moved to a stretcher, C/A1C Melucci then assisted bearing the passenger's stretcher. The two cadets then helped carry the driver to the ambulance.
During this time, C/AB Marble monitored radio communications, assisted EMT's with their equipment, and helped bear one of the stretchers. The first vehicle's victim was handled entirely by the EMT's.
When the incident was over, the ground crew continued with the SAREX. After being tasked to a municipal airport, they were the first crew to locate the practice ELT.
The team's quick reaction, excellent care, and outstanding teamwork were vital in conveying the victims to safety. These actions reflect our training, in that we don't train for if there is going to be an emergency, but rather for when there will be an emergency.