Tuesday, December 6

Who Needs an Ambulance for an Entrapped Patient?

Yesterday started early with two classes and kept going with a full schedule. I forgot to eat breakfast, and had a reasonable lunch (which means I was still hungry…). A campus wide faculty meeting ended about 1730, I stuck around and chatted for a couple of minutes, and then headed to my car, thinking of my wife, kids and lasagna (let’s just pretend that was the order).

As I’m driving home, my pager wakes up, and all I hear is “rescue for evaluation”. As I head to the station, the chief answers up, and I wonder how he got to the station so quickly. Turns out he was there as he KNEW we’d be heading out. HOW did he know? Because it turns out the radio traffic had gone something like this…

Fire and rescue for a small hamlet about 10 minutes from us gets toned out for a “water alarm” at an adult assisted living facility (“It’s not a nursing home”). Upon arrival, rescue reports a patient entrapped in a room with water pouring out from under the door. They ask for an engine and rescue from another fire department for more personnel. Dispatch confirms receipt of this transmission. Time goes by. Rescue then reports to dispatch that they have freed the patient and are awaiting the ambulance (that’d be my agency, who is supposed to be automatically dispatched for any potential medical emergency in this area). The dispatcher then says “Affirmative – Patient free, awaiting [my agency]. Do you want [my agency] alerted?”. I really wish I could have heard all of this, including the fire chief’s response.

Anyway, our rig gets out with a driver, our chief, myself and an EMT-Basic. Our patient is cold and shaken having been submerged in 18 inches of water for who knows how long. The crew and I take the patient to the hospital while the chief stays back to work on an evacuation plan (the whole building is soaked from a pipe break which has disabled the fire sprinkler system).

In the end, we borrowed a school bus and moved 37 patients to a local hotel. While it was a bit crazy at times, it was kind of fun to do something so different than usual.

I did get to eat at 2200.