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Ode De Shirey

Johnathan Becker, Emergency Trauma Technician

Long into the night one may dream of the slope,
Expanding land, running waters, and pumping oil,
Before one comes here there are some rules to follow,
Training masses for the slope remains a heavy task,
Go forth and do well we are told, rarely knowing,
Medical response and training is the Realm of the Shirey.

When bleeding from a paper cut, call for Shirey!
Emergency response anywhere on the North Slope,
When in doubt seek out Shirey the knowing,
Frequently covered in blood and rarely in oil,
The Shirey’s will measure up to the task,
Humble in spirit they are the couple to follow.

When the fire trucks run, the Shirey’s will follow,
If you are a hurt patient just ask for Shirey,
Distracted and tired, but diligent to the task,
“Safety first” is the motto of all on the slope,
Injuries abound when you’re pumping the black oil,
Not for weak or weary, only for the humble and knowing,

New ETT’s focused intently on knowing,
Willing to show they have the will to follow,
Even off the slope the Shirey’s work for big oil,
Avante garde medical training brought to you by Shirey,
Once hooked you are sure to slide their slippery slope,
Neither place too far nor crisis, neither event nor task,

The Shirey’s are quick to respond to any task,
With their training, experience, and knowing,
Alpine, Kuparuk, Endicott, and beyond the slope,
The mass of students are prepared to follow,
Leadership, expertise and humor are the Shireys,
Endlessly with happiness in their heart they toil,

Emergency responders anywhere there be oil,
If you need a favor just seek out Dan or Sony and ask,
The boisterous one in the back must be a Shirey,
Even at the poker table they seem to have a knowing,
If they are headed to a bar you better follow,
All fun and games to the Shirey – even on the slope!

Quick Action, EMT Training Save Airplane Crash Victim

Frank E. Baker
Friday, November 30, 2007

During a recent recreational outing near Whittier, in south-central Alaska, WRD HSE project manager Pam Pope and her husband Jonathan were hiking back to their boat in Three Fingers Cove when they saw a float plane take off from Shrode Lake and abruptly dip behind a hill.

“The plane disappeared quickly and we heard a couple of faint booms,” says Pam. “Then the engine stopped. Since I have EMT training and Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) ski patrol training, we decided that I should run to try and find the crash. I found it after about 30 minutes of bushwhacking on the side of a hill. The pilot was dead, but his wife was screaming and trapped in the wreckage.”

For the first hour Pam tried to free the woman and keep her stable. Jonathan called the U.S. Coast Guard from their boat and brought a hand-held radio to Pam so that she could communicate with them directly. The Coast Guard was having difficulty hearing Pam on her radio, however, so she relayed the conversation through another boat anchored in Three Fingers Cove.

Pam says the first helicopter (not an EMT rescue chopper, one of opportunity) arrived at the site about 90 minutes after the incident. They worked with Pam and Jonathan to free the survivor, who was by then relatively stable as a result of Pam’s efforts. The victim was then transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

“It took three hours for the actual Blackhawk EMT helicopter to arrive, and they handled the fatality,” says Pam. “People should realize how long actual rescues take, even when you get a quick notification. Many times when you are calling for help, you should realize that you are the help.

“I thought about what we did the first hour when it was just me, and then Jonathan, until others arrived, and we did what we are trained to do without thinking,” says Pam.

“I know my North Slope training was instrumental in thinking through those initial responses, and my OEC and volunteer ski patrol training was really helpful in coming up with innovative first-aid items to manage a broken arm and other injuries,” she says.

Pam strongly encourages people, especially those who venture into the outdoors, to take advantage of first-aid training and BP emergency-response training. Not only is it good for supporting BP activities, but it could save a life on your own time. She offers some lessons learned:

  • When in remote areas, have the proper communication equipment with you, even for short distances;
  • Everyone should know where radios are kept and how to use them;
  • Know your location and have good maps and GPS;
  • First aid equipment-to go kit, all should know location and contents even if they don’t know how to use it; and
  • You never know when you might be a first responder.