A week ago today my son and daughter in law, who live in Montana, were on a deck that collapsed at a memorial service. They were standing at the front of the deck when it gave way. My son was able to jump and my daughter-in-law slid and landed on her tailbone. Thomas was wearing his work boots which may have protected his ankles. They have been checked over and are okay (battered and bruised) but others had serious injuries. One friend has a smashed L9 vertabrae, another a broken pelvis, others broken ribs, broken arms and legs. But it could have been so much worse. No one was under the deck when it collapsed. And the church facility is also utilized by children’s groups. It might have happened when the deck was full of kids.
Here’s what my daughter in law said.
“The responders who mobilized after the collapse included past and current members of Creston Fire as well as some active and retired nurses from the community. Some of these people have not worked together on a scene in years. Some of these people have never worked on a scene together at all. And yet, everyone knew what to do and came together as though they had trained together for years. Furthermore, they did it without any of their gear. Showing up at the scene of a mass casualty event in full protective gear with all your gloves, tourniquets, bandages, and other supplies is one thing. Being thrust into action without any of that is quite another. The camp staff did begin ripping tablecloths into bandages and tourniquets and filled bags with ice. A couple of guys grabbed some of the rails from the nearby fence and nailed them up to the remaining timbers of the deck to keep anything else from falling, but for the most part, it was—because it had to be—an improvised mass casualty response for the first few minutes. That makes it even more amazing. “
The collapse made the national news. My son is a captain in the local volunteer fire company and also an EMT. The memorial service was for one of the fire department’s own, so there were lots of firemen there. Several years ago the fire department staged a day long mass casualty training event at the Kalispell airport. This one was for real.
I am so grateful that my kids are okay and praying for the people who were injured. Life can change in a instant.