4th of July Parade Accident

SafetyPro2

Forum Safety Officer
772
2
0
Today (the 5th) was our annual 4th of July Parade in town, held a day late since the 4th fell on a Sunday. Sierra Madre's a small town, but the parade's a big deal with over 100 entries (many silly, some serious). Unfortunately, today's parade started off with a fairly serious accident.

Our department's always the last unit in the parade, so we stage at the end of the main boulevard just past the side-street where most the rest of the units stage. This allows us to both serve as traffic control and to respond if necessary. Generally, there's a couple of other units staged there as well, mainly other fire and police from neighboring towns.

Today, I was covering for someone, so I was riding on the first-due engine. We had to make a couple stops on the way to staging, so we were the last rig in.

As we were pulling up to the intersection at the staging area, I heard a simultaneous "Oh #%#%!" from both the Captain and the Engineer. The other FF and I both turned around in our jumpseats to see someone laying in the street and a sea of blue uniforms converging on that individual and going several other directions at the same time. Being the closest rig (the rest of the department rigs were about a block down), we jumped off and grabbed our medical gear and ran over to the scene.

Turns out that the chassis (about the size of a large bus chassis) for the Sierra Madre float for the Rose Parade was parked just in front of our staging, and somehow, it inadvertently started and moved, injuring 5 individuals in the process.

The most serious was the patient I initially saw and worked on, who was either struck by or thrown from the chassis when it moved. She had pretty severe facial trauma and other lacerations as well as a fairly likely neck injury and possible internal injuries. She was transported code 3 (lights and sirens). Two of the other patients were transported code 2. The other two patients had minor injuries not requiring transport.

Luckily, we had plenty of personnel to handle the incident since we had every piece of apparatus and 90% of our members there on-scene witnessing the incident as it occured. We also had help from Arcadia Engine 107 and two U.S. Forest Service engines, as well as at least half our PD and two CHP motor officers, who all jumped in and helped out as needed.

Still, put something of a damper on the day. PD was very edgy about anyone being in the street along the parade route (its generally a running water fight between us and the kids in town with kids running up and squirting us all along the way) and threatened to stop the parade altogether if anyone got too close to the apparatus.

We ended up running one other medical call prior to our start down the parade route...kid fell from a bicycle and scraped his knee. No transport needed, and after the first call, was almost a relief to run on such a minor call.
 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
9,638
578
113
I always hate to hear how what should be a festive occassion turns into someone's bad day.

Look on the bright side...you had the fastest response time you're ever gonna get without causing the accident. :D

I do have a question, though. Given the number of responders that you had present, how well did your command and control function? I mean, did you have all the help you needed, or were people getting in the way?
 
OP
SafetyPro2

SafetyPro2

Forum Safety Officer
772
2
0
Originally posted by ffemt8978@Jul 5 2004, 09:30 PM
I do have a question, though. Given the number of responders that you had present, how well did your command and control function? I mean, did you have all the help you needed, or were people getting in the way?
Pretty well. The Chief assumed IC immediately and started making assignments at the officer level at least and getting the scene under control.

Things were a little crazier at the "grunt" level. Everyone just went to work, and I didn't even know there was more than one patient until we got ours loaded in the ambulance (I tend to get tunnel vision when I'm focusing on a patient). We probably had more people on that patient than we needed, since she was the most visibly hurt, but all the patients did get immediate care and each had enough people to handle the injuries.

Had we not all been on-scene from the get-go, it probably would have gone a little more smoothly because units/individuals would have been directed to specific patients as they arrived rather than everyone just reacting. Still, under the circumstances, I think it went as smoothly as it could have.
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
Community Leader
5,251
256
83
Definitely a bad situation, but it seems as though you guys handled it well.

Every year our small city also has a parade. The slogan is "Half the city is in it, the other half watches." My house was near the start of the route, and I'll never forget the time I saw an older man go into cardiac arrest.

I was young, probably six or seven. The parade just started, our old fire truck and PD in front. They jumped off their rigs and started CPR, we were a MFR city at the time, and still are.

I'll never forget that day, and I don't think anybody will. The parade went on, and I remember having a great time, but most of all I remember the man going into cardiac arrest.

It seems you guys had a good handle on the situation, and if anything, it confirmed that you were well trained and capable of handling the situation.

Sure beats my 4th of July shift, all of zero calls.
 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
9,638
578
113
Originally posted by SafetyPro@Jul 5 2004, 09:02 PM
Things were a little crazier at the "grunt" level. Everyone just went to work, and I didn't even know there was more than one patient until we got ours loaded in the ambulance (I tend to get tunnel vision when I'm focusing on a patient). We probably had more people on that patient than we needed, since she was the most visibly hurt, but all the patients did get immediate care and each had enough people to handle the injuries.

Had we not all been on-scene from the get-go, it probably would have gone a little more smoothly because units/individuals would have been directed to specific patients as they arrived rather than everyone just reacting. Still, under the circumstances, I think it went as smoothly as it could have.
That's suprising. It's been my experience that those of us at the "grunt" level tend to focus on getting the job done. Since we pretty much have the same goal and training, it seems that working together is like second nature to us.

As far as the tunnel vision goes, that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you know that someone else is performing triage and the sorts, I say go for the tunnel vision because you're 100% focused on your patient. In case you haven't figured it out, I tend to do the same thing.

Case in point:

Dispatched at 0100 for two vehicle, head-on MVA with multiple ejections (with a reported doctor on scene). I'm sitting in the front seat of the ambulance with my bunker gear on when we arrive (I like to wear bunkers for MVA's for the additional protection, and I never know if I'm going to be doing extrication). Any way, as I'm getting out of the ambulance, the FACBP on-scene asks me if I'm a medic. I respond, "Yeah, I'm an EMT." He then directs me to the two "ejected patients". One of them is laying supine and the other is sitting up and trying to move around. I get manual C-spine on the one sitting, and call for more help. During my SAMPLE Hx, my patient tells me she had a LOC. I notify the incident commander, who made the decision to fly her out. Helicopter arrives, and wants to know why my patient is going to be transported by air since the department was still busy extricating another patient. IC informs them my patient had LOC, and there was an ALS ground rig standing by for the other patient.

My patient flies, with minor injuries. Hospital was also upset with us for flying a patient with minor injuries. The ground rig arrives at the hospital 15 minutes after my patient. Their patient was eventually transferred to a trauma center, where he died 5 days later. The hospital tried to tell us that he might have lived if he had been flown. My point is, that I got tunnel vision with my patient, and wasn't aware of anything else that was going on with the other patients. I think it helped my patient that I wasn't constantly looking around at the scene, and I was able get a detailed SAMPLE Hx and assessment done.
 
OP
SafetyPro2

SafetyPro2

Forum Safety Officer
772
2
0
Originally posted by ffemt8978@Jul 5 2004, 10:48 PM
That's suprising. It's been my experience that those of us at the "grunt" level tend to focus on getting the job done. Since we pretty much have the same goal and training, it seems that working together is like second nature to us.
Didn't mean to imply there was any problems working together. We didn't even have any problems working with the other city's engine company who we NEVER work EMS with (just fires). They just jumped in and did what they could, and looked to us for direction, even though they're a paid ISO Class 1 department with ALS (though none on-scene) and we're a volunteer Class 4 with BLS.

Just meant that we didn't get any direction really on who did what. We just jumped in and started working patients. Like I said, we probably had a couple too many on the most serious patient who could have gone and helped with another patient. One of the officers probabaly could have managed that a bit more, but again, with everyone there, it was hard to sort people out.
 
OP
SafetyPro2

SafetyPro2

Forum Safety Officer
772
2
0
Here's a link to and excerpt from the newspaper article about the parade and the accident from the Pasadena Star-News. There was an article in the L.A. Times as well, but they require registration to view online.

Residents Enjoy Parade Despite Float Accident

By Marshall Allen , Staff Writer

SIERRA MADRE -- Three people were taken to the hospital after an accident that marred the beginning of the annual Fourth of July parade but did not ruin Monday's event, police said.

The accident delayed the parade by about 20 minutes but did not seem to lessen the enjoyment for the thousands of spectators who lined Sierra Madre Boulevard to watch the eclectic collection of entries.

Cpl. Charles Kamchamnan of the Sierra Madre Police Department said a total of five people were injured when a 40-foot float chassis operated by the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association unexpectedly reversed into the crowd.

"They were close to being pinned, but not run over,' Kamchamnan said. "It was an unfortunate thing, but luckily nobody was seriously injured.'

The accident happened at 10:04 a.m. at the intersection of Sierra Madre Boulevard and Sunnyside Avenue, the beginning of the route, Kamchamnan said. All of the victims were adults and had arm, leg or chest injuries. They were taken to Arcadia Methodist Hospital, he said.

Police were investigating the accident to determine if it was caused by driver error or a mechanical malfunction.
 

Top