The Hendricks County Flyer
Fri Jan 04, 2013, 02:48 PM EST
All three fire departments immediately went to work, quickly and expertly and as a team. Additional firefighters with medical expertise climbed inside the silage wagon and continued to attend to Sercer's medical situation. Another three firefighters with extrication expertise climbed inside and, coordinating with others on the outside, began to disassemble the wagon and the moving parts in which Sercer was trapped. I can't even begin to describe the tools and techniques used, so I won't try. But trust me - these folks train constantly for moments like this. I've seen it.
While all this was happening, Plainfield Fire Chief Brian Russell, monitoring the radio from home, arrived on the scene to assist as needed.
Brownsburg Fire Chief Bill Brown was also at home monitoring the radio.
With the initial on-site assessment uncertain whether Sercer could be saved with a badly mangled left leg severely wedged inside the auger, Brown - recently lured away from the Indianapolis Fire Department and also the former director of Indiana's Task Force One - radioed in to the Dispatch Center, then raced to Methodist Hospital to personally transport, if necessary, a trauma doctor with expertise in the area of field amputations.
Shortly after Brown arrived at Methodist, the firefighters at the scene, working quickly and cohesively, completed the necessary disassembly, successfully extricated Sercer from the auger, and carefully lifted him up and out of the silage wagon. From start to finish - about 17 minutes! Thankfully, no amputation was necessary.
With Sercer's medical circumstances stabilized, the firefighters began to transport him a short distance across an adjoining field just as the Lifeline helicopter dropped out of the sky and touched down. With the rotors still spinning, Sercer was loaded and mere minutes later the helicopter launched itself back into the air. Incredibly, only about 40 minutes had passed since the 9-1-1 call first came in.
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An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
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