It was a mid-morning break unlike any other for David Anderson and Frank Feiler, colleagues at Greif’s Rigid Industrial Packaging and Services facility in Florence, Kentucky. The two were sharing a conversation outside in the front of the plant, when they were suddenly jolted by a thundering crack.
“It was a big crash and when I turned around, I just saw debris flying,” David said.
Out in front of the Greif facility, on state route 1829, two SUVs had collided head-on, where the speed limit is 45 miles per hour. Luckily for the drivers, these two colleagues were prepared, thanks in part to safety training provided by Greif.
“We didn’t think, we just jumped into action,” David said.
David and Frank ran onto the scene of two totaled SUVs that were now facing the same direction after the impact. The front of each vehicle was demolished, both windshields shattered, the hood of each car was bent in every direction, tires were ripped from their axels and debris piled in the street. One SUV had caught fire near the engine. David and Frank knew inside each of those ravaged vehicles were people who needed help.
David and Frank first approached the passenger-side door of the car that had caught fire to see a male driver and a female passenger sitting inside. They couldn’t pull the passenger-side door open due to the twisted metal. They ran to the driver’s side and pulled the door open to see the driver stuck in his seatbelt, wedged in between his seat and the deployed airbag. David used a pocket knife he recently received as a birthday gift so he could cut the driver loose from his seatbelt. While David was cutting the driver free, Frank worked on releasing the passenger. With her door stuck, Frank climbed halfway through the passenger-side window frame, which no longer held any glass. Frank pulled at the vehicle’s side speaker to free the women’s ankle that was wedged in between the speaker and the seat. With the assistance of others who had run to the scene, David and Frank were able to pull both individuals out of the vehicle safely through the driver-side door.
Within those same moments, Frank and David’s colleague Brian Moughler arrived on the scene and began attending to the male driver in the other SUV. Brian had been working his way to the cafeteria to take his daily break, when he heard there was an accident and help was needed.
“David and Frank were already at the other vehicle, so I ran to the other one,” Brian said. “The driver asked if this was a dream and I said ‘no this is real, I need to get you out of this car.’”
The driver’s door was jammed shut. Brian ripped open the back door on the driver’s side to try and get the driver out from behind. The dashboard and steering wheel had caved in on the driver’s legs, making the escape difficult, but with the help of some other colleagues, Brian was able to pull the driver to safety.
Local emergency crews arrived on the scene and transported the three victims to be treated. Reflecting on the incident, all three know their quick response that day might have saved lives.
“I never really thought if a situation like that would happen I would know what to do,” Frank said.
However, Frank did know what to do because he recently completed training from Greif’s First Responder Course. Provided by the American Red Cross, the program trains individuals on how to respond to a wide variety of emergency scenarios. Trainees learn how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), how to properly conduct cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), receive general first aid tips that are needed to treat potential burns and lacerations, and how to respond if someone is choking or suffering from an allergic reactions.
“Having taken the course, it helped me be prepared in that moment. I felt I had to do something, especially with the knowledge gained from the training,” said Frank.
None of the three Greif colleagues have had any contact with victims since the day of the accident in late 2018, but they remain proud that they were able to lend a helping hand when there were individuals in dire need.
“I would want someone to help me out, so I just put myself out there to do the best I can to help someone else out,” Brian said “I am glad everything worked out.”
Photo: David Anderson and Frank Feiler (left) and Brian Moughler (right) all of Greif's Rigid Industrial Packaging and Services facility in Florence, Kentucky.