George Culbertson didn’t think twice when he came upon a horrific vehicle crash on Interstate 476 in Montgomery County.
On his way home from work, the field supervisor and third-generation firefighter did what he has so many times before. First, he used his Montgomery County radio to alert a dispatcher to the crash and the need for emergency help. Then, he rushed to the mangled vehicle to see how he could help whoever was inside.
And the driver, who was alone in the vehicle, was in dire need of help.
Drifting in and out of consciousness, the driver was trapped. He suffered serious injuries, including an amputated arm. Culbertson managed to get into the rear of the vehicle to speak to the man, assess his condition and the extent of his injuries, and ask a nurse, who happened to be at the accident scene, to immobilize his head and neck.
“Time was of the essence,” said Culbertson, who knew how critical it was to get the man medical help within the “golden hour” after the crash.
He contacted the rescue company and explained the man could not be taken out of the car without removing the doors and roof. Once they arrived, Culbertson grabbed a reciprocating saw and started removing the windshield. It took more than 40 minutes to remove the roof and doors using the Jaws of Life and get the victim safely into a medical helicopter to be transported to the hospital.
Culbertson was later informed that the man had his amputated arm surgically reattached at a trauma center.
Looking back on the day’s events, it was one of the worst vehicle crash scenes that he has ever seen in his 31 years as a volunteer firefighter.
“I just wanted to do the right thing,” he said. “I hope I gave this person the best chance of survival during what was probably the worst day of his life.”
We’re so proud of George’s heroic response.