First responders recall moment tornado struck ambulance

Two paramedics were driving back from a call when they encountered severe weather


By EMS1 Staff

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. — Two paramedics recall the moment they were struck by a tornado while on the way back from a call in an ambulance.

WSLS 10 reported that Paramedics Bryan Ferguson and Billy Akers heard the warning come over the radio.

“Attention, all units. Attention, all units. Be advised, we are currently in a tornado warning until 11 o’clock in this area. Again: tornado warning until 11 o’clock.”

Ferguson said initially the storm looked much further away.

“As we were coming up the road, we were looking out towards the west, towards where the storm activity looked like it was coming from, thinking it was further away and just watching,” he said. “Next thing you know, we’re running right into it.”

The ambulance began swaying from side to side as debris slammed into the rig, and the glass in the back windows shattered.

“Noises were the weirdest thing,” Ferguson said. “The debris is hitting the ambulance, just showering everything around us, including us. We both just kind of shelled up and threw our arms up for protection.”

After it passed, the two paramedics were shocked at the fast pace of the storm.

“It just happened so quick that I was like, ‘OK, we just went through a tornado or a tornado just went through us,’” Akers said.

The two began to assess the damage and realized there was a victim on the road with them.

“That’s when we noticed the vehicle below us in the southbound lane,” Akers said. “There was an occupant in that vehicle. We were able to remove that occupant and call back for additional units to let them know that we did have a rescue.”

The man was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

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