Even though Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is not a four letter word it has definitely caused many four letter words to be spoken from myself and I predict from many of you. Every call offers us great opportunities but it’s up to you to capitalize on those opportunities.
If you haven't embraced EMS at this point you are no longer behind the eight ball you are behind the whole rack of balls. EMS being a trend or the next new thing to do for our citizens has long passed. EMS is the fire service of today! This blog is not being written to try to convince you to embrace EMS. The purpose is to provide examples and suggestions on how EMS calls can contribute to helping save firefighters lives.
Since the adoption of EMS firefighters lives have been saved. EMS has saved lives because of the BLS or ALS equipment and skills of members. However there is something more basic then providing care to patients we are going to discuss. It’s about capitalizing on opportunities!
EMS has contributed to saving lives because of the level of familiarity with the district and it buildings and the relationships created while rendering EMS care.
Every EMS run gives us some very unique opportunities.
EMS alarms give us access to private occupied dwellings, multi occupancy housing, factories, warehouses, commercial, manufacturing facilities and potentially every occupancy in your district. We are given the opportunity to enter in conditions that we can easily see, investigate and learn all about the buildings layout, content, process, equipment, hazards, points of egress, the many special components and hazards that we would never become familiar with if we did not gain entry for a EMS alarm.
Think back to a time when you have been crawling around in a structure choked with smoke, high heat and blacked out conditions. Remember that feeling of having no idea where you are, what you are crawling on, into or around? Remember that thought of “I know there has to be a window or do right here somewhere?” At that moment have you ever said “if I was only here before I would know my way around?”
EMS gives you the opportunity to address those questions and concerns ahead of time. EMS gives you the opportunity to learn the lay of the land ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the layout. Many of today's residential homes don't follow the rules we are familiar with when we talk about floor plans. On every EMS run take the time to look around and create a mental prep lab of the layout, hazardous egress, basement access etc.
This brings us to the number one benefit that won't directly saw lives but will provide you with the opportunity to create or build relationships with citizens. Someone who will be supportive of the department both financially and physically through their voting rights. Has your budget even gone to a vote or referendum? Has a board ever had to approve a capital budget request for equipment, staffing, projects? If you have not yet been through this process yet learn this now! You will need support from as many people in your community as possible! The citizens are not going to support you of they have had a negative or subpar experience. I have blogged in the past on "the little things"
It is those little things that can make the difference between getting the project, staffing or budget passed.
Use every opportunity including every EMS call to build relationships and create new ones.
The next EMS call and everyone after that learn everything you can about the building and build those relationships. Doing both of these may save your life!