A photograph of the highway accident I worked several weeks ago was printed the following week in a local newspaper. The photograph spurred some controversy since the victim’s face is visible.I did not see the picture when it ran but was told about it by my department the next time I worked; department protocol dictates that a firefighter buys lunch for his or her shift if their picture appears in the paper. No one had a copy of the photograph and we were unable to get a copy of the paper so I was not bound by the rule at the time.

Today I was sent a copy of the picture by the newspaper. The picture appears below the cut. The photograph itself is not gory but may be disturbing.

The photograph was taken from the shoulder of the road and shows the car wrapped around the tree. The roof has just been cut off the car and members of Hartland Fire and Hartland Rescue prepare to slide the patient onto a backboard. I am behind the patient holding her head. I crawled into the vehicle when we arrived and have been holding her head and talking to her for the time it has taken for the local fire department to arrive, set up, and remove the roof. My face shield is down to protect my eyes during the removal of the roof; I covered the patient’s eyes with my hand during the process.

To the extreme left is the hydraulic pump that operates the spreader (‘jaws of life’) and the cutter. These two tools can be seen under the roof of the car at the feet of the foreground firefighter; the spreaders are to the left and the cutters to the right.

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