Pittsburgh paramedic uses own vehicle to rescue victims from bridge collapse



Pittsburgh paramedic Jon Atkinson was on his way to the scene of the bridge collapse Friday morning when he heard other first responders were having trouble getting victims out of the ravine.So he offered to use his own four-wheel-drive pickup truck, which he just bought several months ago.Watch the full story in the video player above. “I almost felt like an Uber driver coming down to pick somebody up,” said Atkinson, a 21-year veteran.It’s doubtful that any Uber drivers have ventured down the steep terrain of Pittsburgh’s Frick Park under a collapsed bridge. But Atkinson did it with his truck.He pulled out a woman who was loaded onto the bed of his pickup truck when other rescue vehicles could not get out.”They were down there, they had everybody taken care of, and the question was, ‘How are we going to get these people out of here?'” Atkinson said.Even though the victim’s vital signs were stable, Atkinson said she needed to get out quickly.”Even someone who’s not critically injured, exposure to the elements is definitely a big problem,” he said.He pulled out another victim who did not need to be treated but was concerned about being late to work.”He was, surprisingly, uninjured and he just needed to get out of there and wanted to go to work so he hopped in the front with me and we took a cautious route out,” Atkinson said.Atkinson is trained as a tactical paramedic but he said his training did not prepare him for this.”We don’t really train in off-road driving but it’s just understood that sometimes you have to do some unorthodox things or think outside the box to meet the needs of the incident and that’s what we did today,” he said.

Pittsburgh paramedic Jon Atkinson was on his way to the scene of the bridge collapse Friday morning when he heard other first responders were having trouble getting victims out of the ravine.

So he offered to use his own four-wheel-drive pickup truck, which he just bought several months ago.

Watch the full story in the video player above.

“I almost felt like an Uber driver coming down to pick somebody up,” said Atkinson, a 21-year veteran.

It’s doubtful that any Uber drivers have ventured down the steep terrain of Pittsburgh’s Frick Park under a collapsed bridge. But Atkinson did it with his truck.

He pulled out a woman who was loaded onto the bed of his pickup truck when other rescue vehicles could not get out.

“They were down there, they had everybody taken care of, and the question was, ‘How are we going to get these people out of here?'” Atkinson said.

Even though the victim’s vital signs were stable, Atkinson said she needed to get out quickly.

“Even someone who’s not critically injured, exposure to the elements is definitely a big problem,” he said.

He pulled out another victim who did not need to be treated but was concerned about being late to work.

“He was, surprisingly, uninjured and he just needed to get out of there and wanted to go to work so he hopped in the front with me and we took a cautious route out,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson is trained as a tactical paramedic but he said his training did not prepare him for this.

“We don’t really train in off-road driving but it’s just understood that sometimes you have to do some unorthodox things or think outside the box to meet the needs of the incident and that’s what we did today,” he said.



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