Letter: Emergency responders won’t forget Vail Pass pile-up | VailDaily.com

Letter: Emergency responders won’t forget Vail Pass pile-up

Peter Brandes, operations manager
Eagle County Ambulance District
Vail CO, Colorado

On behalf of the Eagle County Ambulance District, I would like to compliment our fellow emergency service providers on their response to the March 31 accident on Vail Pass. When Vail Fire Department crews arrived at the scene, they immediately implemented the Incident Command System and quickly and efficiently began extricating the injured. Multiple other EMS, fire, and law enforcement agencies from both Eagle and Summit counties provided vital assistance as well. Our paramedics arrived to find several critically injured patients and many others with less severe injuries. These folks were quickly treated and transported to area hospitals. Hats off in particular to Captain Jim Spell of the Vail Fire Department for a great job as incident commander on the largest crash I have been involved in during my 25 years in EMS in this county.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to those injured in the crash and especially to the family of the Longmont resident who passed away. Given the scope of this incident, we are thankful that the toll was not greater.

A bright spot during last Monday’s ordeal was the tremendous cooperation that occurred valleywide, not only in caring for and transporting those involved in the crash, but in managing traffic flows. Unlike other recent Vail Pass closures, our ambulances were able to get through Vail proper and access the interstate without fighting gridlock. When roads are clogged with traffic, ambulances cannot access the injured and the extra emergency workers called in to deal with an incident of this size cannot get to their assignments. Thanks to all the communities farther west who put up with traffic delays so that critical medical care could get to the accident victims as quickly as possible.

If you have an opportunity, be sure to thank your local emergency service providers for all they do. Events such as Monday’s accident live in the memory of the first responders long after the rest of us have moved on. A partial list of those from Eagle County who assisted in Monday’s accident includes: Colorado State Patrol, Vail Fire, Vail Police, Vail Transit, Greater Eagle Fire, Eagle River Fire, Eagle Police Department, Western Eagle County Ambulance, ECO Transit, Eagle County Ambulance District, Vail Valley Medical Center, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Department of Transportation, Minturn Police Department, Eagle County Emergency Management, Vail Mountain Rescue, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Vail Religious Foundation, Vail Church and Trinity Baptist.

Peter Brandes

Operations Manager

Eagle County Ambulance District


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