The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is very proud to announce that two if its Firefighters, Damian Motsinger and Brandon Polk will be recognized by Polk County’s President’s Roundtable on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 as Firefighters of the Year, respectively. The organization is made up of leaders from several community organizations like Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions and more. The Firefighters were each recognized for separate acts of heroism outside of their work at the department as emergency responders.
Firefighter / Paramedic Damian Motsinger was recognized for providing lifesaving aid to a teenage boy who suffered a horrific skateboarding accident, that rendered him unconscious followed by repeated seizures. The boy was found by Firefighter Motsinger, and his wife who is a nurse, on the side of a road on a late Saturday evening. Damian’s quick thinking and medical aid prior to emergency responders arriving is directly credited with saving the boy’s life. The following award nomination details the event:
" On a Saturday evening in September 2016, after leaving the home of his in-laws, Damian and his wife Chelsea were driving home on Crews Lake Road when they encountered a car flashing their headlights. Damian pulled over to see what the issue was and if he could help. Upon coming up to the where the vehicle was stopped, he noticed a teenage boy (about 14-15 years old) lying unresponsive in the middle of the road.
A friend of the teenage boy, that was at the scene stated that they were skate boarding down the hill when the patient wrecked, causing him to hit his head hard. The patient’s friend then explained to Firefighter Motsinger that the teenage boy then started to have repeated seizures.
Damian indistinctly jumped into action, using his extensive emergency medical experience to help the boy. Firefighter Motsinger took charge at the scene by holding C-spine on the boy and noticed that cars were coming extremely close to them. Damian instructed the bystanders that they needed to move the child out of the road while maintaining spinal immobilization. Once out of the road Damian had another person hold C-spine, so that he could perform a medical assessment on the boy for further injuries. The boy was unresponsive the entire time prior to the arrival of a Polk County EMS unit arriving on scene. Once Polk County Fire was on scene Damian gave the injury report to Lieutenant /Paramedic Jason Villeneuve, and stressed the urgency to them that this child was a pediatric trauma alert. Damian assisted them with setting up the IV and with preparing to intubate the child.
The child began to vomit and Damian quickly recognized the need to roll the patient to keep him from aspirating. Once the boy’s airway was cleared of vomit, Damian assisted Polk County EMS with securing the unresponsive child’s airway by intubating him. Damian held cricoid pressure while the Polk County EMS Paramedics placed the tube down the child’s airway.
Damian’s quick thinking, leadership, and ultimately heroic actions in a very stressful situation that night helped save the life of that boy. He was at the right place and time to help that young patient by applying his knowledge and abilities as a first responder.
Damian is a true professional that helps others whenever possible. "
Firefighter / EMT Brandon Polk was recognized for providing medical aid and emergency guidance at the scene of a fatal car accident while off-duty. He noticed the accident and arrived just as responders from LFD’s partners in public safety, Polk County EMS, did. He worked closely with EMS crews to assess patients and provide Basic Life Support. Upon the arrival of LFD’s Tower 15, he assisted in the extrication of patients entrapped in one of the involved vehicles. The following award nomination details the event:
" On the afternoon of August 7, 2016, Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) Firefighter and EMT, Brandon Polk, was off-duty while driving on Memorial Boulevard when he noticed traffic was at a stop shortly ahead of where he was driving. He then realized that a vehicle accident had just occurred. Brandon drove his vehicle around the stopped traffic and pulled off the side of the road to begin to assess the accident scene and see how he could lend his skills and help.
A Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR) Medic Unit heading to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with a patient also stopped. Brandon noticed a female laying in the middle of the road and began walking towards her. As he approached her the PCFR Medic advised Brandon she was deceased. The PCFR Paramedic was on the radio with dispatch and advised Brandon that as a result he (PCFR Paramedic) had not yet assessed the other occupants in the vehicles. Brandon walked over to a heavily damaged Jeep Cherokee and began to assess the passenger who was alert, complaining of chest pain, and showing signs of shock.
A bystander then advised Brandon that the backseat passenger was slumped over and not responding. Brandon could not open the passenger door but was able to make access to the backseat from the driver side. He began to assess the backseat passenger and determined that she too was deceased. Brandon then began to assess the driver who was alert but showing signs of shock. After triaging the occupants in the Jeep Cherokee he made contact with the PCFR Paramedic and advised him to notify dispatch that Lakeland Fire Tower 15 would need to be dispatched because the driver was entrapped. Brandon observed that another PCFR Medic Unit had arrived on scene and was assessing the second vehicle involved in the collision.
The Lakeland Fire Department response units arrived soon after Brandon’s initial contact with the patients / victims. Once they arrived, Brandon made contact with the Lieutenant from Engine 41 and Battalion Chief 1 and advised them of the situation and the patient’s status. Tower 15 arrived on scene and Brandon assisted in gathering extrication equipment from Tower 15 and began to assist in patient care of the passenger in the Jeep Cherokee.
If it were not for Brandon’s willingness to stop off-duty and the leadership he demonstrated on scene by directing responding units based on his initial medical assessments, the appropriate patient care to the most critical patients may have not occurred. "
The department is extremely proud of both Damian and Brandon. They are a shining example of the department’s firefighters and are greatly appreciated for their dedication and passion to serve, on and off duty.
FF/Paramedic Damian Motsinger
FF/EMT Brandon Polk