On Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 11:41 am, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company, Kent & Queen Annes Rescue Squad and Kent County EMS (career) was dispatched for a Technical Rescue in the 300 block of Washington Avenue. The location was on the campus of Washington College near Chester Hall, which is just off the Maryland 291 Bypass.
Units arrived to find a pediatric male, aged 12 years, had inadvertently stepped into an exposed PVC pipe. His leg was tightly wedged inside the pipe to just below the knee. He was awake, calm and cooperative. It was determined the best, most expedient means to free him was to excavate around the pipe to a depth well below the foot. Once the appropriate level had been reached, the pipe was severed with a battery-operated Sawzall, a reciprocating power saw. Once the leg / pipe were out of the hole, crews worked to remove the pipe from around the leg. In order to protect the leg from further injury, protective measures were ensured. A long board splint was inserted and was able to be manipulated so the cutting operation would fall directly on it. A small, portable battery-operated grinding wheel was then used to cut the pipe vertically. Personnel were able to sufficiently spread the pipe to provide enough clearance. This technique proved efficient and the leg was free of the pipe within minutes. From time of dispatch until the leg was free was about one (1) hour. Throughout the extrication process, EMS continued to monitor and treat the patient, talking with him and reassuring him he would soon be free.
Subsequent to extrication and as a precaution, the patient was airlifted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital by Maryland State Police Aviation. At this time, there is no word on the patient’s condition.
As a sidebar observation, it should be noted this was a weekday, daytime incident, historically one of the toughest, most challenging times for volunteer emergency services to provide fire and life-safety protection. If you are interested in helping us protect your community, please contact us. You may send us a private message.