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My friends and I just finished a late breakfast at Treats and Treasures and were getting suited up to go down to the Snowdeo at Coleman State Park to demo some new sleds and check out the venue. It was a nice, sunny day; cold and very icy. We were heading onto corridor 140 when we started seeing sleds pulled off to the side of the trail. The last time I came upon this scenario there was a large moose blocking the trail. So, I was hoping to see a big, beautiful moose for some memorable trip photos.
As I got off my sled I saw more and more people on both sides of the trail, some with helmets off and their faces had looks of dismay and upset. At this point I knew it was not wildlife blocking the trail. I walked further down the trail and then came across a completely mangled sled (Arctic Cat). There was another sled slammed into the side of it. Wasn’t nearly as mangled. The Arctic Cat engine/hood cover was completely torn off, the windshield was lying on the ground and a few feet away a crowd of people were surrounding an area. My friend, Bill, came over and said that there was a victim on the ground and he wasn’t moving. My immediate thought was someone got killed. Medical personnel were not on site yet. Those at the scene were in shock and visibly distraught. Bill went into action. He trains with FEMA and was prepared for situations like this. The victim was conscious, in a lot of pain. I went over to assist as the victim was going into shock and very cold from lying on the ground for who knows how long before we arrived. I had some medical supplies with me and began to take out emergency blankets and toe/body warmers to try and help warm up the victim. Others were putting all their extra clothes/emergency blankets on his chest to try and warm him up as he was shaking. Bill had patched up his left knee that appeared to have been broken. Bone was showing through his skin. It was assumed he had a compound fracture from being ejected from the sled. I was putting pressure on it so that it wouldn’t bleed. Luckily the cold temps helped the clotting. People were talking to the victim at this point, trying to keep him engaged and conscious.
Finally an off duty EMS responder came to the scene as he was just a few miles away at the local Ridge Runners Warming Hut. Since he was off duty he didn’t have any medical supplies on him so we were using what our friend, Bill, had to assist the victim. Emergency personnel were notified but as the off duty EMS responder was talking to them over his radio there seemed to be a mix-up of exactly where we were located. They were sending the emergency responders to another location that we were not at. At this point, the victim was lying on the freezing cold ground for at least 45 minutes and he was visibly getting colder and hypothermia was setting in.
Due to the confusion of where we were actually located and this man’s life was in danger from frostbite, shock and hypothermia, I set off my beacon for help. As we were waiting for help to arrive, the off duty EMS responder was placing body warmers on the victim as he was getting colder and colder. I was unlacing his left boot as he was complaining about his foot being extra cold. Knowing that his left knee was hurt very badly I was trying to be extremely careful unlacing his boot so that I wouldn’t cause further pain or damage. I was able to successfully place hand warmers into his boot to try and warm up his foot.
About 30 minutes passed when Fish and Game and EMS responders showed up with the full brigade. They brought a sled with a backboard and loaded him onto the sled to bring him to the waiting helicopter on Rte 3. He was transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The operator of the second sled was then complaining that his head hurt so another medical vehicle escorted him off the trail and he was taken to Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital. As it turns out that same day there was another accident not too far from this accident and I am confident that if I had not set my Beacon off EMS and Fish and Game would have assumed there was only one accident or taken more time to get to our scene and the man would have been lying there for a lot longer and possibly suffered some permanent, serious medical issues or died.
I have had my Beacon for a few years now. You never want to use it; you hope you never have to use it. I am active all year round. I hike, bike and snowmobile and it comes with me. It is the best piece of mind that money can buy.
Thank you ACR.
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