Wednesday, April 13, 2005

last night's shift

Last night was fortunately a rather quiet one. We were dispatched to 2 calls total last night/this morning. The first was a vehicle vs. utility pole, possibly someone still trapped in the car. We had just started that way when dispatch told us, the ambulance, the ambulance service supervisor we could cancel, they had the driver(occupant) of the vehicle in question who said no one was hurt or trapped. We didn't even get our lights and siren turned on before we were cancelled.

The second call was at about 01:30, a wreck out in the county. The caller to 911 said there were 2 people trapped in an overturned jeep. Then dispatch relayed that the caller thought they were intoxicated. No shock there, that's usually the cause of accidents at gawd-awful early in the morning. Good ol' ethyl alcohol. We were getting close to the scene when the ambulance arrived and let us know there was no one trapped, we could go back to the station.

Yeah, I know I said I would write about last week's shift, too. Ya know what? I was too busy getting my ever-lovin' ass stopmped by orcs, Uruk-hai, and the occasional Nazgul. That's right, I was playing Lord of the Rings: Return of the King all night on shift. It was only the second, maybe third, day I'd had it installed, so I was itching for a good, long ass-kicking session. For all the ass-kicking I received, I only cleared 1 level. I have a bad habit of dying, or else letting Frodo get carried off by a Nazgul.

Remember, when playing Sam, say to your self, "I'm a hobbit, I'm only 3 feet tall. Everything can kick my sorry ass. I must keep pushing ahead or else Frodo is going to put that mother-#&^*in' Ring on and get his sorry hobbit ass carried off by a Nazgul. Again."

Ok, ok. Since there was no liveblogging, last week's shift. We did have what should have been a working call. Minivan overturned in a ditch, nose down in the ditch so the rear of the van was about 3 feet off the ground. Got the mental picture? It looked like it could rock back onto the flat roof at any time, it wasn't safe to be around it until it was stabilized. When I got out of the truck, there was a county firefighter at the side window, talking to the patient. I said that we (my crew) were going to get it stabilized before working on getting the patient out. Make the scene safe for the EMTs and rescuers. I swear by all that is holy, the guy told me "It's alright. I've got a couple of guys keepin' an eye on it so it don't move." What, they were going to stare it into stability? Give it the evil eye? What the fuck? Well, while we were stabilizing the vehicle, the fire department was pulling the patient out, instead of waiting a couple of minutes until it safe. The patient wasn't critically injured, so there wasn't a need to extricate the patient that rapidly.

Now, I'm probably about to shatter some illusions, but it needs to be done. The priorities of an emergency worker should be first personal safety. Second is your partner's/crew's safety. Third is the rest of the emergency responders on that scene. Fourth is the safety of bystanders. Lastly is the patient. Know why? The patient is already injured, part of the problem. Don't make the problem bigger by getting hurt yourself. If someone else gets hurt, resources are tied up treating that person who is supposed to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. An EMT/firefighter/police officer is useless if he/she is injured and in need of care or dead.

Scene safety is my biggest pet peeve, because it's the thing that kills emergency workers. I don't want to be a hero - heroes end up with a flag on their coffin.

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