Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week 9 Prince William Forest Park-Charles Papacostas

This past week, I worked at the Sesquicentennial for the First battle of Manassas. On Wednesday, Amber, Cailin, Jim and I attended the final briefing for the event at the park’s visitor center. This was interesting to sit through to get an understanding for the roles of different groups in the Incident Command System for this event and to see the organization for each and where we fit in. I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet LE rangers from several other parks, as well as officers from the United States Park Police. At the end of the briefing I was very excited about the chance to work at this event and could not wait for Thursday.

Before the festivities kicked off on Thursday we all attended a meeting with Scott Fear, the Director of Transportation for this event to sort out any last minute changes and assignments as well as to obtain radios. We were assigned to work at Chinn Ridge to park vehicles. Einar Olsen, Parking Group Supervisor, spread us out around Chinn Ridge to direct traffic and help park vehicles. It ended up being an interesting experience because with the heat we had to create a rotation to keep everyone fresh but at a sacrifice of less people out in the field. We all adapted to the situation well and battled the heat and completed our task for the day. I am still amazed at the amount of water I drank that day, it seemed that I was drinking a bottle every five minutes. The twelve hour shift flew by, and I had a lot of fun out there working with Dave Ballam and my fellow prorangers.

Friday and Saturday, we also worked parking vehicles at Chinn Ridge, but Friday the number of visitors slightly decreased from Thursday, so the lot was not as busy, but still a fun time nonetheless. One of the best parts of working in the parking lot was the opportunity to interact with a number of visitors from all over the country. It was great to see so many people eager to learn about the battle that occurred here 150 years ago. As a history major, I was very happy that so many people came out despite the heat to show appreciation for this very significant even in our nation’s past and discover the significance of the battle that happened at this site.

Saturday, I spent time both parking vehicles and helping to staff the medical tent #3, which was located in the Chinn Ridge parking lot. In the afternoon, Amber, Cailin, Jim and I split into teams and with two going on roving patrol in a Crown Victoria while the others staffed the tent. Unfortunately right after we left to go out roving, the car got a flat tire, adding a brief delay to our roving. Eventually, Cailin and I were able to venture out to several of the other sites on the battlefield looking for anyone who might be in need of help or water. We did run into a few lost visitors and provided water to some who looked like they were in desperate need of some. Before we knew it, dinner time had arrived and our shift was soon over.

Sunday seemed like the busiest day. I spent most of this day observing operations in medical tent #1 and #3. I stayed in tent #3 for most of the morning with Neil Koch, a ranger from the National Mall. We had one patient, a boy who walked through a field and had a mass of deer ticks on his legs. For the afternoon, Chris Alford, PRWI’s EMS coordinator, allowed me to view the operations in tent #1. This tent was located near the visitor center and had many more patients. There were several other first responders, a paramedic, and doctors stationed here. Many of the cases they dealt with involved heat exhaustion, while there were some relatively minor ones involving a bee sting and a nose bleed. After lunch, Chris and I went out to rove on the mule to scout for anyone who may be in need of help. Once we returned, however, we were dispatched to go aid a boy who was nauseous and dizzy. When we arrived on scene the boy was sitting against a tree with a wet towel on his forehead and he was as a pale as a ghost. Chris took his pulse and respirations and then we transported him back to the tent for evaluation. The boy was placed in front of a fan and sprayed with water and a one of the other first responders took his vitals and filled out a patient care report. Soon after he was turned over to a physician, evaluated, and then released. This was the last case I was able to observe before returning to Chinn Ridge to help with parking, but I was glad to have the chance to observe first-hand how patients are cared for and evaluated in the field. At around 6 o’clock, Mark Clarke and I drove over to the visitor center to shuttle the last few visitors back to the parking lot since all the buses taking visitors up there and back had stopped running. By this point the festivities had come to a close, and it was time to de-mob. It was a fantastic four days at Manassas, and it surely was an experience that I will never forget and am happy to have been a part of.

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