Thoughts about FD having a single EMT to respond and enter a house on a call

Safety and hazards on the job...
chipc73
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Thoughts about FD having a single EMT to respond and enter a house on a call

Postby chipc73 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:49 am

Due to budget cuts, my Vol. FD (where I volunteer) has cut back night shift EMT Duty from a 2 EMT response to a single EMT response.

During the nights (7 days a week), we have volunteer EMT sign-up shifts (6pm-6am), where we would spend the night at the station. Any other volunteers come and go as volunteers do through the day/night.

When we receive a Medical Dispatch during the night, that single EMT responds to the call. IF another EMT is in the station, they will respond as well, but in at 3am, there usually isn't anybody else in the station, and that single EMT responds on the medical response vehicle.

Keep in mind, we do have officers on-duty that rotate on shifts as well.. a lot of times they make it to the station and ride..or will respond POV and meet on scene...the EMT On Duty, as per station policy, can only wait a max of 3 min. before rolling out, has to wait for someone else to get there and ride...... then wait for the County EMS to arrive on scene. Which sets up the high possibility of a Single EMT to enter a scene by themselves.

We all know about those calls where it is dispatched as one thing, but when you get there, it's something entirely different.

I want to get others thoughts and views to this regarding Safety Concerns... We all want to be able to go back home to our family and friends at the end of our shift. It just got me thinking about the likely chance of walking into something dangerous.

Is it acceptable risks? Something that we just have to deal with as part of the job? Or, a major safety concern that is putting firefighter/EMTs at risk, just to have a balanced budget?

Thoughts?

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splashover
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Postby splashover » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:18 am

My first thought was about liability. What if the patient accuses you of something? Stealing, assaults, etc. It's a lot tougher if you don't have a partner to back up your side of a story.

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TGavinL62
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Postby TGavinL62 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:57 pm

[quote=""splashover""]My first thought was about liability. What if the patient accuses you of something? Stealing, assaults, etc. It's a lot tougher if you don't have a partner to back up your side of a story.[/quote]

I concur, with so many lawsuits, allegations, etc....You should never respond alone! If I'm the only firefighter available, I will drive to the call but won't go in unless paramedics are there! Always got to cover your ass!

Voyageur
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Postby Voyageur » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:51 am

I have to agree with the first two responses, you should never enter the scene alone! Personal safety being the number one reason, and allegations of patient assault, inexpert care being a not too distant second.

I think you would be totally justified in following protocol by waiting the 3 minutes before rolling out and then staging on scene and waiting for backup before making patient contact due to safety concerns.

I am very curious about all of this, what do your officers say about entering the scene alone?

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3rdGen
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Postby 3rdGen » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:52 am

I'm sure your provincial workers compensation board would have something to say about this. But as mentioned I'd be just as worried about being accused of something as entering a dangerous situation.
"You can't be wrong for doing the right thing"

WolfmanHarris
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Postby WolfmanHarris » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:33 am

I don't really see a problem with it. Single member first response has long been part of EMS. In my service we currently deploy 7 Rapid Response Unit per day on peak hours to patrol our busiest areas. We also have three Special Response Units who respond single medic and 3-4 district Superintendents who don't usually respond to calls but can find themselves on scene first awaiting transport. Further I've worked a few times when they haven't been able to find me a partner right away and have had to respond on my own in the Ambulance with a second unit to transport.

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dentedhead
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Postby dentedhead » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:04 am

Personally I have never seen it as problem.People get all wound about things that go bump in the night.....the exact same bad shit can happen at 9 in the AM as 9 in the PM.It simply comes down to being comfortable with your situational assessment skills and gut,if its sound dodgy and you feel its dodgy wait for the cops,more FFs or another medic even with all of the above anything could go pete tong.

IE Call for chest pain with dyspnea @ 0300 roll up normal neighbourhood, lights on you can see movement looks okay.

Call for Abdo pain @ 0300 roll up dark house reasonable neighbourhood cluttered laneway etc...do a bit of recon and then decide either enter or sit and wait til help arrives

I had in 20 yrs of EMS only ever heard of 3 instances where theft was reported from a house all three cases the medics were caught charged and fired.Only one of them involved a single response...a supervisor at that.
Thousand a week for hide and seek on call when Im paid to be.

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cmollison
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Postby cmollison » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:06 pm

[quote=""chipc73""]Due to budget cuts, my Vol. FD (where I volunteer) has cut back night shift EMT Duty from a 2 EMT response to a single EMT response.

During the nights (7 days a week), we have volunteer EMT sign-up shifts (6pm-6am), where we would spend the night at the station. Any other volunteers come and go as volunteers do through the day/night.

When we receive a Medical Dispatch during the night, that single EMT responds to the call. IF another EMT is in the station, they will respond as well, but in at 3am, there usually isn't anybody else in the station, and that single EMT responds on the medical response vehicle.

Keep in mind, we do have officers on-duty that rotate on shifts as well.. a lot of times they make it to the station and ride..or will respond POV and meet on scene...the EMT On Duty, as per station policy, can only wait a max of 3 min. before rolling out, has to wait for someone else to get there and ride...... then wait for the County EMS to arrive on scene. Which sets up the high possibility of a Single EMT to enter a scene by themselves.

We all know about those calls where it is dispatched as one thing, but when you get there, it's something entirely different.

I want to get others thoughts and views to this regarding Safety Concerns... We all want to be able to go back home to our family and friends at the end of our shift. It just got me thinking about the likely chance of walking into something dangerous.

Is it acceptable risks? Something that we just have to deal with as part of the job? Or, a major safety concern that is putting firefighter/EMTs at risk, just to have a balanced budget?

Thoughts?[/quote]

I agree with Wolfman and Dented. Situational awareness is the the biggest thing. If you feel like your safety is compromised wait for others to arrive on scene. Bad stuff does happen no matter what time of day and it is the nature of the beast.
Life without knowledge is death in disguise.

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splashover
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Postby splashover » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:54 pm

[quote=""cmollison""]I agree with Wolfman and Dented. Situational awareness is the the biggest thing. If you feel like your safety is compromised wait for others to arrive on scene. Bad stuff does happen no matter what time of day and it is the nature of the beast.[/quote]

I agree. You have to get the job done with the tools you are given. However, budget cuts are BS. Communities are always looking for ways to save money. I don't think this is a smart way to save and you should use these arguments to convince them to keep a two EMT response.


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