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Lawrence Exchange Club’s Police Officer and Firefighters of the Year

Each year the Lawrence Exchange Club bestows their highest public safety awards to Police Officers, Firefighters and EMTs in Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover. Last month, The Exchange Club held their annual award dinner at the Double Tree Hotel in Andover. These are the winners and their stories.

AFD

ANDOVER FIREFIGHTERS OF THE YEAR

On January 23, 2016 at 12:15, Andover 911 Telecommunications received several calls for the report of multiple people through the ice on Field’s Pond off Harold Parker Road. It was overcast with an ambient temperature of 21 degrees with a constant wind speed of 24 mph and gusting to 30 mph out of the north north-east creating a wind chill factor of 4 degrees.

The ice on all static bodies of water throughout the Merrimack Valley was not safe due to the fluctuation in temperatures throughout the winter season creating severe risk to those on the ice and a greater risk to those who may be called to perform rescues of those who have fallen through the ice.

Engines 1, 2, Marine 1, 2, Ladder 1, and Car 1 (The Deputy Chief) and an ALS intercept unit were dispatched to the area of 32 Harold Parker Road. At 1:23pm Deputy Chief Al DelDotto arrived in Car 2, immediately established command, as he observed a group of people on the ice of Field’s Pond, approximately 800 feet off shore from Harold Parker Road where he was staged.

On the arrival of Engine 1 (also at 1:24pm) Lt. Stabile and Firefighter Ferris, who had already donned cold weather rescue suits and safety ropes, began to walk on the ice with Deputy DelDotto towards a group without regard for safety. The safety ropes fastened to the two rescuers were being tended by two additional firefighters who wore firefighting protective clothing and personal floatation devices who accompanied the two rescuers on the ice. While approaching the hole in the ice approximately 700 feet from shore, the rescuers saw two people in the water hanging on to the broken ice around the hole, clinging for their lives.

As this occurred, Andover Police personnel were escorting a victim to the shoreline to an awaiting ambulance who had been able to extricate himself from the frigid water. The IC knew at this point that the distances from the shore to the victims in the water were going to require high risk techniques to safely remove the two remaining victims before they succumbed to hypothermia. The IC ordered the fire personnel to stage approximately 100 feet from the open water area and affect the rescue from an area of “safe ice”.

The IC ordered another incoming crew to inflate and deploy a rapid deployment water craft to assist in the removal of both victims if necessary.

One rescuer was initially sent out to the water. He entered the water and swam to the victim (who had his back towards the rescuers staged on the ice) furthest away from the rescue operation. The rescuer made physical contact with the victim after working his way through the broken ice along the way, and attached a tether line around the victim.

This maneuver was difficult to perform as the victim could not physically assist the rescuer in this effort due to hypothermia and physical exhaustion due to the length of time spent in the water attempting to stay afloat. Once attached to the rescuer, both victim, and rescuer were removed from the water by support personnel, but only after several minutes of struggling to find ice strong enough to support the weight of them.

Once on an “ice shelf”, the support personnel continued to pull the victim and rescuer by rope systems to a safe area on the ice. Initially, the IDC was going to send the same rescuer back into the water to effect the rescue of the second victim, but due to the physical efforts of effecting the first rescue, that was no longer possible.

The IC then sent a second tethered rescuer towards the water to effect the rescue of the second victim.

This rescuer entered the water and made physical contact with the second victim and found that the victim could not assist in attaching the tether to himself. This made this rescue more difficult than the first because this victim experienced a higher level of hypothermia and exhaustion as he had been in the water for a longer length of time.

Once attached to each other, both victim and rescuer were removed from the water. Additional personnel continued with the patient to another awaiting ambulance to begin treatment for hypothermia. The first victim was removed from the water 10 minutes after arrival on scene and the second victim was removed 13 minutes after arrival of personnel and rescue resources.
Had the IC and the personnel not been appropriately trained and properly equipped to respond to an incident such as this, the outcome certainly would not have been as positive. All crews train and prepare for this type of an event annually and the preparation paid off for everyone involved.
Once the victims had been removed from the ice and were being treated for their medical conditions the IC recognized that there could be a significant potential for another incident to occur if onlookers were to attempt to retrieve some of the ice fishing and camping equipment that was left behind by the victims. A great deal of equipment was either still floating in the water or very close to the hole in the ice created by the victims who fell through the ice earlier.

To prevent a potential risk to onlookers, the IC then developed a plan to retrieve all of the equipment through the use of the rapid deployment craft and “fresh” personnel in ice rescue suits. Once all of the equipment was safely retrieved, all personnel were removed from the ice, rehabbed and debriefed.

The Andover Fire and Rescue personnel being honored with the Lawrence Exchange Club Firefighters of the Year award are presented to:

Deputy Chief Albert DelDotto , Lts. Robert Stabile, Mark Conlon, William Loehr and firefighters, Eric Teichert, Garret Ferris, Stephen Stabile, Timothy Bartler, Michael Byerley, Scott Weightman, John Senee, John McMullen, Ian Timmons, Joseph Murphy, and Brian Landry.

APD

ANDOVER POLICE  OFFICERS OF THE YEAR

The Andover Police Department is proud to recognize Officers Brian Mackenzie and Sean O’Day as the Lawrence Exchange Club Officers of the Year.

Officer MacKenzie joined the Andover Police Department in February of 2008. After graduating from the State Police Municipal Academy, he has been assigned to the patrol division and is a member of the NEMLEC (North East Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, formerly called SWAT) regional response team.

Officer O’Day joined the Andover Police Department full time in June of 2010 and attended the Lowell Police Municipal Academy. Sean was then assigned to the Andover patrol division.
Tonight we recognize these two for their saving actions that occurred in the early morning of Sunday, December 18 at 2:20 AM.

Officer Mackenzie and Officer O’Day were dispatched to Bancroft Road for a 41 year old female that had woken up and complained that her husband had heartburn. She then collapsed becoming unresponsive. Upon arrival they obtained information from the victim’s husband and observed the victim lying on the floor of an upstairs bedroom.

They quickly assessed the victim, applied the AED from the cruiser and began with administering CPR.

After several minutes of CPR, AED advised a shock and ultimately several shots were delivered.
This process was repeated several times until Andover Fire EMTs arrived on scene and took over patient care.

Prior to being transported to Lawrence General Hospital, the victim regained a heartbeat and was breathing on her own. Officer Mackenzie and O’Day then concentrated on the family members who included a very concerned husband and two young children who were still sleeping during the incident. They made contact with friends and family to assist. They then transported the husband to the hospital and deployed TIPS to the home and the hospital for assistance, and ensured that the family was well taken care of.

On December 23rd, Dr. Daniel Jeong came to the station to inform the officers that due to their life saving actions the victims had pulled through.

I want to thank and congratulate Officers MacKenzie and O’Day for their hard work, empathy and dedication to the Town of Andover.

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover Massachusetts, an author, host of the Paying Attention Radio Program on WCAP in Lowell, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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