Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Weather Post

In this odd winter we've had, where we basically haven't had one, why is it that Winter has to decide to show up right when I'd rather it didn't?

Awful predictions for tomorrow, when I need to be elsewhere to teach in the middle of the day.

I can leave early, to be able to get there on time, and if need be, I can stay there late, and hang out until the weather improves before coming back home.  But if I do that, it greatly prolongs the time I'm not HERE, meaning that right when the weather is the worst we've seen this season... I won't be able to respond to any calls.

The other night I was listening to the scanner when I heard a call (not here, but in this county) for a patient having difficulty breathing. A few minutes later, a second activation for that patient, now unresponsive. A few minutes later, a third activation, and not long after, a call for a mutual aid flycar and manpower for a full arrest.

And then, not long after that, a request for law enforcement, and the ambulance went back in service, without transporting a patient.

It's not difficult to read through the lines on that.

It is likely that there, as here, there aren't many providers, and with one or two not home, there wasn't anyone to respond. Mutual aid is great, but it's further away. Not close enough to get an AED somewhere in time to make a difference.

At another recent incident, we were toned to respond to someone with chest pain. Fortunately, I recognized that the address given was wrong. The caller had given the name of the business, and I knew that it really was on a different road with a similar name. We called dispatch and told them that, it was confirmed, and within a couple of minutes, they had sent the right rescue to the right place. If I had NOT recognized the error (and to be fair, if no one else had- several did, including an officer from the actual responding agency), we (and our ALS back up) were going to a place about 18 minutes from here. It could have been that long before we realized that the address did not exist, and THEN dispatch would have been trying to figure out the right address, and only then sending help.  That could easily have been disastrous.

People don't realize how their survival often depends on details they aren't aware of, and have no control over. Who is home when they call. Which dispatcher they get. What the weather is like. How far they live from the nearest responder. Confusion (on the part of the caller, the dispatcher or the responders) because of similar road names. Some of the possible combinations are not good, not good at all.

Sometimes, I'd hate to be a dispatcher. To have someone on the phone, and know that help isn't going yet, as the patient's condition tanks? No, thank you. That had to suck in a big bad way.

If you can spare a good weather thought this direction tomorrow, that would be great.
If we can get the weather to clear just long enough for us to get to Baltimore, that would be great, too.

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