When a speeding auto knocked an undergraduate to the ground one month ago in front of Memorial Hall, the Rescue Squad of the Cambridge Fire Department was on hand to care for the patient for a city-wide service that lends daily aid to victims of accidents, heart attacks, fires, and suicide.
Of the 1,176 times that the squad's emergency-equipped truck was called out last year, about a quarter were for non-fire rescue purposes. Spectacularly and gruesomeness are part and parcel of jobs undertaken by the four squad men, who only recently had to jack a subway train up in order "to get a guy out from under."
Armed with brand-new gas masks, which supply compressed air from a portable tank, rescue men often face danger where "Boston firemen can't go in," according to one member of the staff. Workers often enter home-made gas chambers when an old-fashioned refrigerator breaks down and befumes the air, creating a problem firemen call the "lousiest job."
Schooling Proves Its Worth
Rescue experts are trained first aid workers, educated in this specially at a local fire college. Their schooling showed up a Boston doctor on one occasion when the M.D. stated that a victim of heart disease wouldn't live out the night. With a combination inhalator and resuscitation firemen worked over the patient for 12 hours. She is alive today.
Winter ice annually brings a spurt to auto accidents. Last Friday, for example, a passenger car pinned two taxicab riders in a night time smashup. After all efforts to extricate the trapped victims had proved unsuccessful the rescue truck arrived at the scene and exacted an escape.
A rescue man's duty only ceases when a competent medical authority has taken over even though the patient may have been dead for hours. When ambulances are lacking, the red truck must often carry injured persons to a hospital.
Speaking for the rest of the department, the rescue squad men reported that false alarms, which used to occur fairly regularly in the vicinity of Bow Street have now become "definitely prewar stuff."
Equipment on the rescue truck includes a two way radio, oxygen, blankets, first aid materials and even rubber boats to rescue victims floundering in lakes and rivers