many of us were fascinated watching the 2004 Olympic
Games in Athens.
We watched many individuals take their place on
the winners platform, and we were amazed at their
stories of dedication, commitment, bravery, sometimes
defeat, and ultimately success.
admired stories of athletes who have dedicated their
lives to prepare for a truly triumphant moment, which
happen not because of the brief moment it takes to win a
competition, but because of the years it takes to
train for that special moment.
training can equip the rescuer with the mental tools
that enable methodical, careful analysis of the scene to
override rash actions. Only training can equip the
firefighter with the knowledge to take full advantage of
the life-saving monitors and equipment available to
them. And only training can provide the rescuer the
patience necessary to remember that the conditions that
overcame the victim can, and will, overcome the rescuer
without diligent attention to life safety.
natural inclination of any rescuer is to leap into
action, understandably anxious to move as quickly as
possible to save those in distress. The immeasurable
value of training is that, through time and practice,
the natural inclination to act will be supplanted by the
necessary process of rational consideration.
often find themselves in situations where life and death
decisions must be made in a matter of seconds. We often
hear about a heroic just-in-time rescue, and rarely
about the lifetime of setbacks, preparation and
training. Fire professionals train for the
unexpected hoping they will never be in a crisis where
they need the special education. They practice
procedures and step-by-step activities until their
bodies and minds can go through it without struggle.
in an instant, firefighters find them self in a life
2004 United Fire Firefighter of the Year Paul Evancho
with the Yuma Fire Department provided
us with an excellent example of just how important
firefighter training is. Every minute of Paulís 12
years of training and experience in the field was put to
the test on April 2 of this year.
duty, he found himself in front of a horrific motor
vehicle accident in an isolated rural location just east
of Gila Bend. Without
professional fire service training, any other person
would have been overcome with panic and fear
was a head-on collision between a Suburban and a Pick Up
pulling a U-HAUL trailer.
Steam and fluid from the engines of the vehicles
covered the ground amongst a mass of twisted metal.
Evancho immediately sprang into action and began
assessing the situation. He quickly determined that
there were six level one traumaís and activated
the 911 system requesting helicopters and ambulances.
on the scene he triaged the victims, and determined the
most viable patient was the passenger of the pick-up. As
he attempted to access her grossly contorted body pinned
under the dash, the victim with massive facial trauma,
multiple fractures and internal injuries regained
consciousness. Paul was trying to comfort her and check
vitals when the truck suddenly burst into flames, and
he, with little regard to his own safety, successfully
extinguished the fire with one extinguisher from his own
vehicle and another from a Maricopa Deputy that had
arrived on the scene just in time.
Rescue crews arrived, Paul continued to assist by
driving the ambulance to the landing zone, and loaded a
then returned to the scene to help with the extrications
of the other victims.
was able to use his quick thinking and life-saving
skills to rescue one survivor
from a brutal wreck that ultimately killed 5 others.
His display of dedication, courage, and bravery
is a tribute to himself, his training and the
firefighter profession. He is a firefighter that truly
1996 Paul established a Foundation for Burned Children
in Southwest Arizona. He also is the liaison for the
families and the Maricopa Burn Center. Paul sits on the
core committee of the Arizona Childrenís Burn Camp and
tirelessly tends to these children and their families in
excess of 800 volunteer hours a year! Also involved in
many other local charities, it is no wonder that Paul
Evancho was selected to be the 2004 Arizona Firefighter
of the Year.