New Jaws of Life comes in handy on Sunday rollover wreck

First responders on the scene of a one-vehicle rollover Sunday morning.

NESMITH -  A father and son were injured in a rollover accident Sunday morning, Feb. 18, when foggy weather conditions contributed to the vehicle losing control in a curve and overturning several times.
Danny F. David, of Addison, driver of a 2007 Kia, and his father Danny M. David, were both injured in the accident, with Danny M. suffering head injuries, as well as a fractured leg, according to officials on the scene.
The Helicon Fire Department was dispatched at 11:03 a.m. to the S curves half a mile west of the Exxon station on Highway 278 in the Nesmith area, noted Helicon Assistant Chief Greg Ackley.
The Kia was traveling east on Highway 278 when the accident occurred, Ackley said.
“Heavy fog that morning made visibility difficult,” he  said. 
“They ran off the road in a curve into a ditch. The car was reported as having flipped multiple times then landing on the driver’s side in the middle of 278.”
Medics with the Helicon department started to work, administering aid to Danny M., who had suffered the head and leg injury, possibly a broken femur, Ackley stated.
“He was hanging in the seat belt in the passenger seat,” he said. “(Medics) tried to control the bleeding, but it was limited access because the car was laying on its side.”
The Helicon department used its new Jaws of Life in order to help remove Danny M. from the overturned vehicle.
Danny F., who had been able to climb out of the vehicle, suffered minor injuries, firefighters on the scene said.
The Jaws set features stabilizer struts used to support the vehicle while it is on its side. Firefighters also used a cutter tool to cut the roof of the car in order to free Danny M., Ackley added.
“We had to work with (the vehicle) on its side to get the patient out,” said Ackley.
Once the roof of the vehicle was peeled off, firefighters had easier access to the victim. They cut the seat belt off of him and lowered him onto a board to get him out of the vehicle, Ackley noted.
An ambulance from Regional Paramedical Services arrived on the scene with RPS medics helping tend to the driver.
Authorities had called for air transport, but neither Air Evac nor RAMS medical helicopter service could fly due to weather conditions, firefighters said.
Both the father and son were transported in one RPS unit for treatment at UAB Hospital, according to Ackley.

Wreck Marks First Use of New Jaws Set

This scene marked the first time Helicon fire officials had used the new Jaws of Life they were able to purchase thanks to a $39,000 Assistance to Firefighters grant provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The department had purchased a set of hydraulic tools about three years ago, powered by gas and hydraulics, said Ackley.
“They were pretty much out of date,” Ackley said. “They were old.”
The set had a line hose which was connected to a power unit the department had to transport with them.
“We could run only one set of tools at a time off that power unit,” Ackley said.
The department was awarded the FEMA grant in 2018, after which they began, over the next several months, checking with multiple vendors on the best price, deciding on TNT E-draulic Tools.
The new tools were received Jan. 2, according to Ackley.
The new set includes two stabilization struts, a cutter, spreader, RAM combination tool, cut and spreader combo, a sawzall, reciprocating saw, power packs and batteries, he noted.
“One thing we never owned was stabilization struts,” said Ackley. “This was an incident where a car was laying on its side, and that’s probably one of the most unstable vehicles you can (have).
“The use of the tools worked like a well-oiled machine,” Ackley added.
Helicon commended all agencies on the scene for their cooperation, including the Addison Fire Department which responded to assist with traffic and scene operations, as well as assistance received from bystanders.
The accident is being investigated by troopers with Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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