Incidents at Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks: June 6-19

 

Question: 

What is a Parkmedic? 

 

Answer: Parkmedics are park rangers with specialty medical training. Their training is similar to an Advanced EMT, but with an expanded pharmacological and procedural scope of practice. 

Parkmedics in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks provide EMS services under protocols written, reviewed, and revised by Parkmedic residents at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. 

Parkmedics call for medical direction from the field to the Community Regional Medical Center emergency department, where trained residents provide advice and consultation via radio. 

 

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK 

 

Ash Mountain 

June 8— Rangers received a report of a mother bear and two cubs sniffing around a tent in the Potwisha Campground. The bears did not obtain food, but the family was uncomfortable and left. 

June 10— Rangers arrested a man for possession of a stolen vehicle near Hospital Rock. The vehicle was reported stolen from Coalinga. 

June 15— An 18-year-old female and 21-year-old male from Fresno were reported overdue after stating to others that they were headed to Sequoia National Park. A brief search was conducted before the individuals returned home. 

June 18— Rangers and employees from multiple divisions responded to a motor vehicle collision that occurred along the Generals Highway approximately one mile above Hospital Rock. A vehicle lost its brakes and went over the edge, rolling approximately 200 feet downhill, where it collided with an oak tree. All five occupants of the vehicle were injured to varying degrees. Approximately 20 park employees, three ambulances, and a SkyLife Air Ambulance responded. Four of the patients were transported by ambulance; the driver declined medical assistance. The SkyLife Air Ambulance was not used for patient transport. The driver was cited for driver license violations, seat belt violations, and unsafe operations.

 

Lodgepole

June 8— A 39-year-old female from Eureka, Calif., was hiking on the Sherman Tree Trail when she began experiencing severe respiratory distress. Rangers responded shortly before she lost consciousness. She was provided rescue breaths and was flown to the hospital by Life Flight.

 

Mineral King 

June 12— Rangers responded to Cold Springs Campground regarding a report of a man who fell. Upon arriving on scene, they found him unresponsive. He was treated for a diabetic emergency. His condition improved following treatment, and he was transported by ambulance to the hospital. 

June 17— A 40-year-old male from Woodlake was bitten by a rattlesnake near the Kern Ranger Station. He was flown to the Ash Mountain Helibase where he was transferred to a Life Flight helicopter and flown to a hospital for antivenin treatment.   

June 19— Rangers and Helicopter-552 responded to the Cliff Creek/Timber Creek junction off the Timber Gap Trail for a SPOT device “SOS” call. Rescuers found the two hikers who activated the device. They were unable to cross Cliff Creek due to high water, so they activated the SOS button to get assistance. A law enforcement investigation is being conducted into the appropriateness of the activation.             

 

High Sierra

June 6— A 36-year-old male went to the Crabtree Ranger Station to report that he had taken a fall on Mount Whitney, breaking his wrist and spraining his knee. The patient stayed with the Crabtree ranger overnight and was flown to Southern Inyo Hospital the following morning. 

June 13— A 22-year-old male hiker on Mt. Whitney found himself in poor weather conditions. Bystanders reported he was suffering from hypothermia, altered mental status, and altitude sickness. He spent the night at the summit shelter. On the morning of Monday, June 13, Helicopter-552 landed on the summit and evacuated the hiker to Southern Inyo Hospital in Lone Pine.

June 13— A Pacific Crest Trail hiker ascended Mount Whitney and was on the snow for 12 hours without sunglasses. He arrived at the Crabtree Ranger Station, suffering from acute snow-blindness. He was treated and released. 

 

KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK

 

Grant Grove 

June 8— Rangers investigated a motor vehicle accident on Highway 180 just west of Sunset Campground. A visitor reportedly fell asleep, crossed over the oncoming lane, and left the roadway. A small tree kept the vehicle from rolling down the hillside. There were no injuries, but Highway 180 had to be shut down in both directions for about 15 minutes while the vehicle was brought back to the roadway by tow truck. 

June 11— The community of Wilsonia hosted a lunch for local firefighters and park staff to show their appreciation for the personnel’s efforts during the Rough Fire. Lunch included tri-tip sandwiches, baked beans, pastas, fresh fruit, and numerous desserts. 

June 13— Rangers responded to a 3-year-old female choking and possibly having suffered a seizure. She was found alert, but her mother reported that she was still not responding appropriately. She was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

June 18— Rangers assisted Hume Lake Fire at Hume Lake with a reported near-drowning of a 16-year-old male. Upon arrival, the victim was found on the lakeshore, alert with difficulty breathing. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

 

Cedar Grove

June 11— Rangers responded to a solo motor vehicle accident involving a head-on collision with a tree. No major injuries. 

June 11— Rangers assisted the U.S. Forest Service and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office with a technical rescue at Grizzly Falls in Sequoia National Forest. Two brothers hiked to the top of the falls when one fell to a ledge below the rim of the falls. The younger brother “didn’t know what to do,” so he allowed himself to slide down to his brother. From that point they realized they could no longer climb up or down. Both individuals were brought to the rim and safely escorted back to the base of the falls. 

A citation was issued for a driver going 65 mph in a posted 35 mph zone. 

Wilderness citations were issued for fire in an undesignated area and feeding wildlife (bear).

June 15-16— Various park staff participated in safety training. 

 

Sierra Crest

June 5— Grant Grove rangers received a report of a male Pacific Crest Trail hiker at Rae Lakes who had an injured foot and could not continue. A Sierra Crest Parkmedic was flown to Rae Lakes by the park helicopter. The patient was treated and evacuated to Grant Grove, where he was transported to a local hospital.

June 13— A search for two overdue hikers was initiated on the Rae Lakes Loop. A note was found at the Charlotte Lake Ranger Station stating that the pair was delayed by weather, out of food, and seeking assistance. They both hiked out to Roads End in good health later in the day.

June 13— Grant Grove rangers organized a medical response to Rae Lakes for a 20-year-old female reportedly suffering from blurred vision and aphasia. On the morning of June 14, the park staff received notice that the patient had improved overnight and no longer desired evacuation. 

June 16— Rangers and Helicopter-552 responded to the Center Basin area along the Pacific Crest Trail for a SPOT Device “SOS” call. Rescuers found a female PCT hiker who had activated the device. She was suffering from a hip injury and altitude sickness. Helicopter-552 flew the patient to Cedar Grove where she was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. 

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