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The Risk Continuum
In recent issues there has been some discussion on scene safety and delaying patient care. Responses seem to be at both extremes, from rushing in before law enforcement to waiting until it’s completely safe.
Realistically, being in dangerous situations is part of the game. If you’re at a shooting scene, guess what? You’ve put yourself in danger and know you’re taking a risk.
The mind-set of a scene becoming safe simply by having police on it irritates me. Having police on scene is like your BSI: It helps minimize risk. How much risk depends on your system. Areas that get a shooting a year probably have very safe scenes. Areas with three separate shooting calls that happen concurrently every Friday night with law enforcement spread thin are probably not as safe.
It’s all a continuum. Realize that you’re somewhere on it.
Los Angeles, CA
Fixing the System
In regard to Mike Smith’s column “Earn-A-Ride” in the April 2012 issue, as a paramedic, the thought of handing off an ALS patient to a BLS crew strikes me as reckless and irresponsible. I believe the major problem is a generational one. I had a recent “argument” at the firehouse about the unimportance of firefighters/EMS with today’s population. My generation (34 years old) has come of age and is taking the reins, and it is frightening. Most people either don’t care or think it doesn’t involve them or is below them. The sad truth is, firefighters, EMS and police are viewed as a “utility,” much like waste removal or street repair. Our grandparents’ age of hero firefighters and EMTs has gone the way of the dodo.
J.B. Johns, FF/EMT-P
Author Mike Smith responds: The picture you paint of our industry is pretty bleak, and for the most part, I agree with your take on things, as mirrored by my comments in the article. As a profession, I think we need to tighten up the net and try to get higher-quality applicants in the pipeline. Quality people are the critical ingredient in the mix, as I see it. If we put the wrong people in the chairs, then it should be of little surprise when the end product is marginal or unacceptable.