Charles Pinney | Kalamath Drive
|Del Mar CERT Coordinator Cap Pinney reviewing damage and
needs with CERT volunteers in 2011.
Photo Bill Morris.
Click on photo to enlarge.
This is a report on an automobile accident at the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and Camino Del Mar on Saturday, April 16.
At approximately 7:55 pm two cars collided at the intersection causing one car to burst into flames with an engine fire. Five people were hurt, four seriously.
Two of the nearby residents who heard the crash and immediately responded were members of the Del Mar Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a group of volunteers who have been trained by the Fire Department. They discovered the driver of one car trapped in the burning vehicle by a deployed air bag. Using their training, the team called 911 and returned to their residence to grab two fire extinguishers and a CERT kit bag while other neighbors deployed a garden hose. It took both of the fire bottles to extinguish the engine fire.
Meanwhile, the trapped driver was having difficulty breathing due to the pressure of the air bag on his chest. The CERT team extracted the driver and attended to the injuries of the other vehicle occupants.
Fire trucks arrived about 20 minutes after the crash to find the scene still chaotic with traffic backing up on both roads. The team then began directing traffic with a flash light until they were relieved by a representative of the sheriff’s department.
All five occupants of the vehicles were transported to local hospitals and are recovering. If it had not been for the actions of the CERT team, it is probable that the trapped driver would have perished.
There are approximately 30 local Del Mar citizens who have been trained in the CERT program to respond to mass casualty events such as severe earthquakes, floods, fires, and other disasters. The combined fire departments of Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe hold CERT Academies twice a year and are always looking for more volunteers. Interested people can contact their local CERT team leader. In Del Mar, contact Charles “Cap” Pinney at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.