Posted: Apr 28, 2013 7:48 PM by Tara Grimes - MTN News
Updated: Apr 28, 2013 7:49 PM
GREAT FALLS - It was a cold and dreary morning as airman Jeremy Crossman said he made his way to the airport to drop off off his mother-in-law. That simple trip turned into a chaotic one however, when Crossman said he came across a pick up truck sitting halfway on a guardrail and an unconscious woman laying on the ground unable to breathe.
"The first thing I did was open her airway because that's what they trained to us to do [in the Air Force]," Crossman said. "There's a couple different ways to do that. I used the jaw trust maneuver and as soon as I did that she started breathing and coughing with some shallow movement."
Great Falls Emergency Services operations manager Justin Grohs said that action probably saved the woman's life, since it only takes four to six minutes for someone to go brain dead without oxygen.
If a person isn't trained, however, Grohs said they should approach the situation differently.
"Folks, beyond calling 911, need to be extremely careful," Grohs said. "For starters there's ongoing vehicle traffic, other cars. In fact, EMT's, paramedics, fire fighters and police officers do get struck by traffic on these scenes."
Even if a person is in the vehicle, Grohs says to keep your distance.
"Especially with a newer generation of cars there's additional hazards including air bags, bumpers that can retract back out with no warning with the amount of force that could break a person's leg if they happen to be standing next to the vehicle," Grohs said.
If a person has been ejected from the vehicle, he said it's important to never move a person from the position they're in to prevent possible or further spinal injuries.
"Keeping them still, not moving them, and providing a calming influence would be enormously helpful for any lay person to do," Grohs said.
Although the average response time for Great Falls Fire Rescue and Great Falls Emergency Services is four minutes within city limits, enough time for a bystander to just wait, if a person truly wants to be adequately prepared, Grohs said they should take a CPR training class.
He said Great Falls Fire Rescue is working to launch a new class which would teach a group of people how to do CPR. Those people would then pass their training on to other residents.
As for Crossman, he said never thought his Air Force training would pay off, but looking back on that dreary Sunday morning, he knows it made all the difference in the world.
"I was just doing what anybody would have done in that situation," Crossman said.
For more information on the CPR class Great Falls Fire Rescue is putting together, you can call the department at 406-727-8070.