BFD EMT Heroic Actions Above & Beyond
On December 1, 2019, Brendan Esch of the Bethesda Fire Department and two friends, were returning to Indiana University after the Thanksgiving holiday break. Around 12;30 p.m. while traveling on I-68, near the LaVale, Maryland exit, visibility rapidly decreased as a result of heavy fog. As visibility neared zero and Brendan slowed his vehicle, it was suddenly struck from behind; forcing the vehicle into a spin and pushing it deeper into the fog and into a pile of already crashed vehicles. His 2012 Jeep Wrangler had become twisted between numerous other vehicles making exit from the vehicle difficult (photo of his crashed vehicle is available and was widely circulated in the press).
Although injured from the initial impact and with more cars and tractor trailers continuing to crash into the wreckage all around them in the fog, Brendan assisted the other two passengers trapped in his vehicle out of the wreckage, out of the way of additional vehicles crashing into the wreckage and to safety. He then crawled back into the wreckage of his vehicle to grab his medical jump bag and proceeded to triage and treat the other victims of the crash.
Barefoot on one foot (his shoes were lost in the initial crash), he walked through twisted metal, broken glass, debris, ice and snow, going car to car, patient to patient, examining each victim, prioritizing their injuries, treating them to the degree possible, assisting them out of their wrecked vehicles, moving them to safety, and providing additional care to more seriously injured victims. By the time first responders arrived he had treated about 14 patients.
Despite his numerous injuries: a fractured rib, bruised hip, numerous cuts, abrasions and bruises to both arms, both legs, both hands and both wrists, head, neck, and back injuries, a concussion, and cut foot from walking barefoot, Brendan reported to the first arriving fire/rescue command officer, gave an initial scene report and offered to continue to assist. After presenting his credentials and verifying his certifications as an EMT, and obtaining shoes, he continued to assist to treat the most severely injured victim who was still trapped in her vehicle.
Finally, after the last patient had been transported to the hospital, he agreed to be transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment of his injuries. He and his two passengers were released later that night. Although most of his injuries are slowly healing, he continues to be treated for a concussion.
At the time, Brendan had only been an EMT for 5 months, having graduated from his EMT class in June 2019. The Bethesda Fire Department recognizes Brendan for his quick and heroic actions, above and beyond the call of duty.
Link to news article: https://www.wdtv.com/content/news/1-68-partially-shut-down-after–565662272.html