There will be an award presentation Friday at 2 p.m. hosted by Signature Health Care of Cleveland recognizing local emergency responders. The event will be inside the facility. Two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians from Bradley County EMS will be recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty as well as an employee from Signature.
Other supporting agencies will also be recognized. Those include; the Cleveland Fire Department, Bradley County Fire and Rescue and the Cleveland/Bradley Emergency Management Agency. Representatives from all agencies will be on hand.
The following is a description of the event that took place that prompted this award presentation.
"EMTs Sean Hennessee and Megan Phillips had just completed transporting a patient back to Signature Healthcare of Cleveland on Feb. 8. As they were getting ready to depart they noticed a commotion towards the front of the building and someone came inside and told them they needed their help outside. When they went outside they saw that a car had crashed through a five foot retaining wall. There was an elderly couple inside the car unable to get out. As they approached the vehicle they heard a loud hissing sound and smelled a strong odor of natural gas. They contacted dispatch and notified them of the incident and requested another ambulance and the fire department. When the car crashed through the wall it struck the gas meter which in turn ruptured the natural gas main below ground.
"This situation was critical in that one small spark could ignite the natural gas that was now gushing into the interior of the car. Megan Phillips checked on the female driver. She was not injured but her door was not able to open. She was able to climb out of the window with assistance.
"EMT Phillips then went to the passenger who was experiencing neck and back pain. The block wall had the passenger door jammed. She kept the patient calm by talking to him. EMT Sean Hennessee retrieved a cervical collar and placed on the patient to keep his neck stabilized.
"The second ambulance arrived on the scene with Critical Care Paramedic Keith Umberger and paramedic Eric Johnson. They immediately realized the seriousness of what was happening and knew that this could quickly become a deadly situation. They moved their ambulance away from the scene and up wind and told their EMT student to stay in the ambulance for safety. Keith Umberger insisted for EMT Phillips to exit the vehicle and had her and EMT Hennesse to move from the immediate area.
"Keith then used his strength to open the rear door and pushed the blocks out of the way. He then slid into the back seat and explained to the patient that they had no choice but to remove him quickly. The gas was overwhelming at this point causing the patient to ingest large amounts of the fumes. An oxygen mask was put in place to help limit the amount inhaled. Umberger grabbed the gentleman’s gate belt and Eric Johnson grabbed his legs and they moved him to the back seat then out onto the ground. The patient was moved to safety. He was then packaged onto a backboard and loaded onto a stretcher. Paramedic Eric Johnson and EMT Sean Hennessee transported him via ambulance to Sky Ridge Medical Center.
"These EMS responders went above and beyond the call of duty and risked their lives on this day to save the lives of these two individuals. If one thing had gone wrong this incident would have had a very tragic outcome not only for our responders but the occupants of the car and the nursing facility. These guys are true heroes."