On Thursday, June 29, West Pierce Fire & Rescue (WPFR) responded to a collision on southbound Interstate 5 at the Berkeley Street exit involving a semi truck and a car. Unfortunately, this incident resulted in a fatality. While it is under investigation by law enforcement, it is important to understand the risks and complexities these types of incidents pose to first responders.
Due to the nature of the incident there were a variety of other hazardous conditions that needed to be addressed. Responders arrived to find restricted access to the patients and hazards, including the freeway, the overpass and a fuel spill. This scene required emergency medical aid for multiple patients (including CPR being performed by law enforcement upon WPFR’s arrival), difficulty accessing all areas of the scene, extra resources and personnel, and the potential for additional risks.
WPFR trains regularly for complex situations such as this one. While this incident was very large in nature, the potential for additional risks is not uncommon. Firefighters are trained to assess the situation and anticipate additional resources necessary to safely mitigate the situation. Continual training is important and WPFR is dedicated to making sure firefighters do so regularly. Not only does training happen within WPFR, but on a county and regional level.