“Oh, Crap, This is Going to Hurt”

In September 2012, two emergency medical technicians in Northwest Florida won the HERO Award for a rescue in which they were repeatedly stung by yellow jackets. Tammy Franklin and Richea Driskell from the Niceville Fire Department responded to an emergency call about a man who had broken his leg. He was lying under a deck, and the firefighters tried to reach him, but as Ms. Franklin said, “The ground started to boil up.” Ms. Driskell ran to get a can of gasoline, hoping to use it to repel the yellow jackets. Ms. Franklin said that she thought, “Oh, crap, this is going to hurt,” as she went under the deck and dragged the injured man out. She said, “Those yellow jackets literally run you down and chase you. They chased us to the truck.” Ms. Franklin was stung approximately 50 times, and Ms. Driskell was also stung repeatedly. She said, “They bite and they continue to bite. They are wicked. They have a gift that keeps on giving.” Niceville Public Safety Director Dino Villani praised the two for their “challenging, rapid rescue in a most hazardous environment.” Ms. Franklin said, “We do extraordinary things on ordinary days. All this fuss, I’m not crazy about it.” She added, “We all do our jobs every day, and we all take risks and don’t take credit. It’s what we do.”

For Further Information: Wendy Victora, “EMTs honored for enduring yellow jackets during rescue.” Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Florida). 20 September 2012 <http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/honored-52446-jackets-yellow.html>.

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