Firefighters’ Quick Response, Quick Rescue for Pickup Truck Driver Standing on Submerged Vehicle in Vernon Hills

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Red pickup truck submerged in a small pond after the driver was rescued in Vernon Hills (PHOTO CREDIT: Max Weingardt)
Red pickup truck submerged in a small pond after the driver was rescued in Vernon Hills (PHOTO CREDIT: Max Weingardt).

Lincolnshire-Riverwoods firefighters, paramedics and divers responded about 6:57 a.m. Friday, July 15, 2022 to a report of a vehicle in a small pond near Fuji America Corporation, 171 Corporate Woods Parkway in Vernon Hills.

Firefighters were on the scene by about 7:00 a.m. and discovered a red pickup truck submerged to the roof. A Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District chief on arrival reported that a man was standing on top of the vehicle that was in the water.

Divers that were immediately on scene were able to secure the driver from the water, and then eventually operated with a crew from Ernie’s Auto & Truck that responded to remove the red Ford F-150 pickup truck from the small pond.

Rescuers confirmed that the man on top of the pickup truck was the only vehicle occupant, and extra crews on the water rescue response were returned by 7:03 a.m.

The man was transported to a nearby hospital for medical assessment.

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In some cases vehicle occupants only have about one minute to take the proper steps to get out of a vehicle that is in water and about to become submerged. Failure to immediately get out of a vehicle can result in entrapment and drowning. Sinking Time is defined as the time the vehicle lands in the water until the time the vehicle disappears under the water surface. Sinking time varies from a few minutes to about 8 minutes.

Dispatchers have Pre-Arrival Instructions (PAIs) that focus on instructing victim(s) to get out of the vehicle as quickly as possible. Key points include …

Get seatbelts unfastened.

Unlock doors (before they short out).

Open windows (before they short out).

It’s usually bests and easiest to get out a rear, side open window.

Children released from restraints should be brought close to an adult if the situation applies, and children should exit first.

If windows won’t open, access a sharp, hard object (center punch, hammer, etc.) and get to the back of the vehicle to attempt to break a rear, side window.

The best place to attempt to break the side, rear window is near the front frame.

If there is no hard object or tool available, lie down on back seat and try to kick the window near the front of the frame of the window with both feet.

If the car submerges and fills with water, take a deep breath from an air pocket, and hold your breath.

Try to open vehicle doors because water pressure may be equalized, and a door may be easier to open.

If doors won’t open, continue attempts to break a window.

If you are able to exit, follow the bubbles because they will be rising to the surface.

Keep in mind that intoxicated passengers may be disoriented to an extent that they don’t know which way is up when underwater.

There is advice that says it is OK to rest while holding on to the vehicle before swimming ashore, but occupants should make sure they are not snagged to the vehicle in some manner so that the vehicle can’t pull you down.

Keep in mind that rapid flood waters can complicate the situation by rolling or shifting the vehicle, and causing other changing conditions.

See also …


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