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Car crash: A firefighter’s story – Del Patey


It was a road traffic collision out towards
Paddock Wood, we were mobilised from Tonbridge here with the rescue pump ladder. We had no
idea at the time what the incident was going to be or the size of the incident when we
arrived the police and ambulance were already in attendance. We found there were two cars
having then spoken to the other emergency services on scene we soon found out that we
had a driver trapped in one of the vehicles it turned out the driver was a 24 year old
and from what we could see on our initial assessment he looked seriously injured and
the paramedics at that time were seriously concerned in such a way that they had already
called the air ambulance. This particular one changed it was a little while afterwards
we’d obviously come back to station and as far as we were concerned it was another road
traffic collision, but as I say a little while afterwards, I think it was the following day
I actually got a phone call from one of our colleges up at headquarters and it turned
out that the lad who was involved in the incident was her nephew obviously the whole family
had concerns over his safety although as it turned out his injuries weren’t as life threatening
as we first perceived. But what did happen was that he didn’t have any recollection to
what had happened prior to the incident, during the incident up to the time he arrived in
hospital. So we was asked if we could actually fill that gap in for him and give some idea
of what had happened, what we did and really sort of piece together some information for
him. After a lot of incidents especially a road traffic collision we don’t always get
a conclusion to it, our role is to go a rescue the casualty and quite often at the point
that they are handed over to the ambulance service is quite often the point that we actually
detach ourselves and don’t always know what else goes on. Sometimes you can follow them
up if they’re high profile or whatever but in most cases we don’t know. Obviously on
this occasion because it was one of our colleges family we got a lot more involved and was
able to give that help and assistance and it was quite nice for us because we actually,
as a result of that we could follow that right through, right up to the point when the lad
had actually recovered and was able to come down and see us and we could talk about it
face to face and in this case we was actually able to sit down and have a chat about things
it had a massive impact on the lads life in terms of he was self employed, as a result
of that he couldn’t work, you think insurance companies pay out pretty quick but they didn’t
in this case it was over a year later before he actually, and that impacted on his driving,
his ability to drive to get insurance so it has got major impacts in terms of that and
again it brought home some aspects to us that we don’t always consider.

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