On the morning of Sunday, January 9, 2022, Captain Michael Fortini and Firefighter Tanner Keeler were headed home after a typical 24-hour shift. As they drove home on the 118 freeway and neared the 405 interchange in Mission Hills, they witnessed a vehicle swerve across lanes and rollover multiple times. Captain Fortini and Firefighter Keeler pulled their vehicles to the shoulder and carefully approached the accident scene as passing drivers slowed and dodged to miss the debris field.
The accident involved only a single vehicle with a single occupant. The driver was alive but severely injured and was struggling to breathe. Captain Fortini quickly assessed the patient’s condition and began administering care. Firefighter Keeler called 9-1-1 and relayed incident details to expedite help for the gravely injured driver.
Keeler then retrieved a basic first-aid kit from his captain’s truck, and the two proceeded to help stabilize the driver. Fortini reached through the broken windshield from the vehicle’s hood and used a bag valve mask to help the patient breathe. Meanwhile, Keeler climbed into the vehicle cab through a broken side window to help stabilize the driver’s injured neck and spine.
Despite lacking tools and adequate protective gear, Fortini and Keeler remained with the patient until their on-duty colleagues arrived on the scene. Both members sustained cuts and scrapes from the broken glass and debris, causing exposure risks from blood and bodily fluids.
LAFD personnel extracted the patient and transported him to a nearby hospital. Although the patient’s injuries were extensive, he survived due to Captain Fortini and Firefighter Keeler’s courageous actions.