Highway 401 disaster Nov 23


Car wreck Highway 401 Nov 23


Car carnage Highway 401 Nov 23


Time Is Everything

In Canada the CRTC is currently looking for ways to improve 911.  I have an overwhelming stat that proves that Rubbrnckr is much faster than traditional 911. On Saturday Nov 9 I witnessed an accident on the 401 Highway between Highway 24 and Highway 8 traveling westbound. I made a phone call on 911 and reported the incident to the OPP at 3:53 pm. I was able to check the report from the local fire department and find out that the local fire department didn’t get dispatched until 4:23. That is 30 minutes after I placed my call.

The way Rubbrnckr works is that once you see an incident you take a picture via the app and follow the prompts and your incident is sent to the local dispatcher (once that city is on board). Once the dispatcher gets the notification they can forward it on to any of their units or to other emergency agencies that may respond to the incident. You tell me, how many emails can you send out in 30 minutes. I can send hundreds.

The way that the 911 service is constructed, a call to the OPP lasted 2 minutes. Then the dispatcher sent out an OPP unit (which came very quickly). The dispatcher probably handled this incident and then the other incident that the officer thought was another accident further west.

If there was only one OPP dispatcher on duty then they would have had to find the number for Waterloo Regional Police who then probably made the call to Cambridge Fire. At that point the call was put out to send the trucks. 30 minutes later. I believe 100 % that all the dispatchers and units that responded to the accident that day did the jobs properly and did an excellent job. The problem is that current 911 does not allow for a faster delivery of the service.

Do you not think that if you were in need of emergency units that whomever you needed would be sent within 60 seconds after you finished with the 911 dispatcher?

Rubbrnckr is aiming to bring dispatch times down by 50%. Contact the CRTC and tell them that Rubbrnckr can save lives but cutting response times in half. In firefighting when it comes to rescuing trapped people from trauma there is “the golden hour”. That is the time after a traumatic incident where the patient has the best chance for survival if they can be transported to a facility with trauma handling capabilities. So if it takes a 7 minute response and 7 minute drive to the hospital by ambulance then the patient has 16 minutes to be extricated and packaged to have the best opportunity in the incident that happened on Saturday that I was a part of. Many extrications, especially difficult ones can easily last 30 minutes depending on the entanglement, severity of injuries, placement of vehicles, weather, and availability of crews.

By using Runnrnckr those patients would have had at least another 28 minutes. That gives the crews 28 more minutes to extricate.

And that’s how Rubbrnckr can help. Below is how fast an incident can be sent out with the data required to process a call.

To witness a highway accident and use 911



Yesterday while I was driving westbound on the Highway 401 in Cambridge on my way to Kitchener I saw a horrific accident. The minivan about 30 yards ahead of me traveling in the middle lane began to swerve and then careened of the guar rail to the right and then whipped over to the cement median on the left and then back to the guard rail of the right where it finally came to a halt. As a firefighter myself all I could think about was possible injuries to the occupants and how lucky they were not to have been hit by anyone else or the other way around.

As soon as I could I pulled over to the shoulder and approached the vehicle. I must remind you that on a Saturday at 4 in the afternoon you don’t want to exit your car on that highway. I’ve done it many times with the shroud of a fire truck and lights and even then it’s scary, but as a civilian it is just crazy. As I approached the vehicle  the driver got out and looked stunned. I wanted to help right away but I knew that if there were serious injuries (that are not always visible) the 911 protocol had to be initiated right away. So I called 911 (not using this app first) and got the OPP. I was on the phone with the dispatcher for a bit which was a little frustrating because she had to get as much info as possible – she was doing her job correctly. But I just wanted to get off the phone and get to the guy. I hesitated on whether I should call our own dispatcher but thought better of that since it’s just the right thing to do. I finally gave all the required details after what seemed like an eternity but was probably only 2 minutes, and was able to talk to the gentleman. He was understandably in shock and sat on the guard rail. Then his wife opened the passenger door and got out. She was visibly shaken but no sighs of serious damage other than the rough red rash from the seatbelt that snatched her tight against the seat as the car impacted the rail and median 3 times. Seat belts work and so did the air bags, so if you are thinking of not wearing them then just hand over your insurance policy to someone that you like.

There was another car of witnesses that stopped further ahead and came back to check on the victims as well. But since the victims appeared quite okay and I had already called 911 they left. I’d like to say thank you to them for caring to stop.

Within 2 minutes of getting off the phone with 911 an OPP unit came out and I explained what I saw and gave a written statement as a witness. We also spotted another vehicle further ahead that appeared to have been in a collision as well – but there was no way in heck that I was crossing the highway. The officer called that one in himself. The officer thanked me and I was free to go after some light pleasantries about our jobs.

While I sat in my vehicle I realized that since traffic was so hard to get out I’d wait until it died down. And then I pulled out my iPhone and used this Rubbrnckr app to log the incident. I got 3 shots. 2 of the vehicle and one of the OPP SUV behind me. Unfortunately I was not able to take any shots of the front or sides of the minivan because I didn’t want to create a commotion or get hit by a distracted driver. The pics are included along with a readout of some of the details produced by this app.

After 17 years of being a firefighter and responding to incidents on the 401 I never thought I’d actually be the first on scene and witness something like that. The one thing I’d like to say is that I do think there was a slight delay in dispatching the call – not because of the dispatcher but because of the way 911 works. I witnessed the incident at roughly 4:02pm and called it in right away. I was on scene for about 15 minutes and no EMS or fire trucks were on scene by the time I left. I know that our closest station that responds to that stretch is only about 6 minutes away. I left and went to Kitchener and came back. Now when I came back there was a massive traffic log jam because of fire trucks and “rubberneckers” now wanting to see what happened. Remember, no one was slowing down when the car hit the wall 3 times.

Because of traffic jams created by this scene this is why this Rubbrnckr app should be endorsed by the CRTC. We need faster transmissions of details and pictures to get the units rolling to the scene. Data can be updated while in transit. Because there was no entrapment (wasn’t asked by the dispatcher) the fire department didn’t need the rescue truck. There is a category in the app for entrapment and one for vehicle accident. I hit vehicle accident and that denotes that a perceived rescue is not required.

If you think about all the times you drive on the highway and all the hours you waste on it because of incidents that seem so trivial to you I believe that many delays could be easily avoided by using this app to let people know what is going on so they wouldn’t have to slow down to rubberneck. We also need to promote this app to allow emergency workers to get better updates of what resources is needed.

Be safe.

Collision Aftermath

Collision Aftermath

Very lucky to be alive

No Injuries In 2-Alarm Fire At East Side Building


Now that’s the view of a fire you hardly get to see. Not

Originally posted on CBS New York:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Officials are investigating the cause of a two-alarm fire at a five-story building on Manhattan’s East Side.

The blaze broke out just after 6 a.m. Monday in the basement of a building on 53rd Street just west of First Avenue.

The fire spread to the first and second floors.

Flames apparently traveled up an exhaust duct along the side of the building, causing the fire to spread to the roof, CBS 2’s Jim Smith reported.

More than 100 firefighters fought the blaze which was brought under control around 6:30 a.m.

No injuries were reported.

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School Bus Hits House In North Minneapolis, Injuries Unknown


Hopefully, if there were injuries, they were only minor.

Originally posted on CBS Minnesota:

[worldnow id=9492897 width=450 height=275 type=video]

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Authorities are investigating after a school bus crashed into a house in north Minneapolis Tuesday morning.

Police said the crash happened at about 8:19 a.m. near the intersection of 42nd and Penn. Authorities said an SUV ran a red light at the intersection then hit the school bus. The bus then spun into the house.

Authorities said the bus had a driver and one child on board at the time of the crash. The extent of their injuries is not known. There were two people inside the SUV, and they were both taken to a hospital.

Authorities said the bus was in between routes at the time of the accident.

“The SUV had two occupants, and adult made and adult female. Both of them have been transported to the hospital to be checked out for possible injuries. They were complaining of some…

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Best Tips To Help Emergency Responders Find Your House

When it comes to emergencies, some situations are more dire than others. We’d all like to think that our own emergency is the most important so there are things we can do to help the first responders find us in our times of distress.

1. Give the dispatcher the correct address. Sounds easy but even if you have to say the name of the city then say so. There are towns and cities that have roadways with duplicate street names. Langs Drive and Langs Circle are in Cambridge, Ontario. King St extends from Kitchener to Cambridge so make sure you have the right city there.

2. Ensure the street number is on the front of your dwelling. If you own the house it is up to you. If you rent it is up to your landlord according to the city by-law. The number should also be easy to spot from the road and in the dark. So a 2-inch high red #33 on a red brick garage is not a good idea.  If you live in an apartment have someone stand in the hall if possible.

3. Turn the lights on. In the night or day turn the lights on outside and in because it gives the responders something easier to pick out among the houses when many houses on a street may look the same.

4. Clear a path. If there is someone that is able to remove debris, toys, garbage, tools, or obstructing vehicles before responders get there please utilize them.

5. Keep pets away. Your pet is precious to you, and your pet cares if you are in trouble. However, some pets have an incredible sense of providing protection. So if you can, put the pet in a separate room that will not be a distraction to the people trying to provide you with the best emergency care possible.


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