Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Time to go back to bed.
Two hours later we got toned out for a person having chest pain. As we pulled up to the house we saw MBA pulling up from the other direction. They just happened to be passing by the area when they got the call. We let them go in first and do the assessment since they have an intern. The patient informed us that she was having chest pain but it went away as soon as she got on the phone with the 911 operator. The operator thought that it would be a good idea to have us come out and check on the patient anyways. The patient checked out fine and she decided to sign out AMA.
Time to go back to bed, again
A little more than two hours after that we got toned out for another person with chest pain. This gentleman has chest pain every couple of months and is pretty well known to us and the MBA paramedics. He does have a fairly significant cardiac history so you never know what you're going to get. Eric did this assessment to. The pain started last night while he was laying in bed. The patient described it as a pressure more than a pain at an 8 out of 10 on the pain scale. He was nauseous and had vomited several times. The pain also radiated to his left arm. On the heart monitor he had a normal sinus rhythm with occasional PVC's. Not anything to get too concerned about. We put him on oxygen, gave him some Aspirin and Nitroglycerin, and started an IV. At this point MBA showed up and we sent him on his way.
Time to go back to bed, again. Oh wait, it's now morning and time to get up. Eric and I later had our Osha safety nap.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
This was his final meal at the hospital before getting discharged. I can't figure out why hospital food gets such a bad rap. That's supposed to be turkey.
Friday, June 27, 2008
The call woke us up just before 0200 for an "ill" female. when we arrived on scene we were greeted outside by an elderly woman. She informed us that she was constipated and hadn't been able to move her bowels in 15 minutes. It to some restraint to not say, "WOW! An entire 15 minutes!" We asked her to go back inside the house where she informed us that she did have minor abdominal pain. Everything else seemed to check out just fine and she actually wanted to go by ambulance to the hospital so we waited. Eventually MBA showed up and we went back to the station and back to bed.
At our fire department we have pagers so that we can be contacted in case of an emergency. All of our calls are sent to the pagers as well. We didn't notice this call on the pager until 2 days later (since we are at the fire station we don't carry the pagers with us). This call had some additional information that was not given to us over the radio. It read, "ME461 Ill female ate lots of "ho ho's" and now ill."
Thursday, June 26, 2008
About an hour after that we got toned out for a person down. When we arrived at the house we found a 58 year old woman with no physical complaint. Turns out that her roommate had walked by the bedroom and seen her laying on the floor and assumed that she was unconscious. In reality she was talking on the phone with a family member laying on the floor because it was cooler. Yet another person signing out AMA. About this time MBA is wondering what we're doing with all of our patients.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Kyra enjoyed wearing my new bunker boots.
Here I'm taking care of some paperwork after the marines were transported. They had only minor injuries and had self extricated.
This was my last "vehicle fire." All it was was cardboard that had lodged itself next to the muffler and ignited. The driver put it out using a garden hose at Circle K.
You can see some minor smoke damage to the rear window.
Eric doing paperwork on the so called vehicle fire.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
AMR, first on scene.
Getting ready to clear the scene. BE (brush engine) 461 is already headed back to the station.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
As I was finishing up my paperwork so that my patient could sign out AMA I noticed that she had closed her eyes and her head started to bob a little. A called her name but got no response. I didn't like this so I called loudly and shook her shoulder. At this point she looked up at me and told me that she wasn't going to go to the hospital. She then promptly passed out again. Given her history I started to wonder if this was some sort of psychotic episode. Now I asked Eric to call MBA again and he asked if I had checked her sugar. It was like a light bulb appeared above my head. I had what we call a paramedic moment, others call it a brain fart. Whenever a patient is altered you always check their blood sugar. That should be the first thing you assume is wrong. I forgot that on this patient. Even though she had no diabetic history at all, and she had dinner only two hours before, her blood sugar was down to 37 (in a healthy adult is should be between 60-100). I quickly started an IV and gave her some sugar. It brought her blood sugar up to 189 and woke her right up. It then took 2 paramedics, a Sheriffs deputy, her husband, and a doctor (on the phone with me), and 30 minutes to talk her into going to the hospital.
Meanwhile, on the outside of the house, the Sheriff deputy and my deputy chief found the Doberman. It jumped the fence and tried to attack them. Fortunately for them the officer had pepper spray and used it in the dog (the dog then retreated to it's property and wearily watched us). Unfortunately, the dog attacked from up wind so the pepper spray came back at the deputy and at Craig. Both of them were coughing pretty hard for a while. Like I said, it was a fun call.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
When we arrived on scene we found that the passenger in the front seat had first and second degree burns to her right arm. I asked her to rate the pain from 1-10 and she answered, "I could rip your f***ing head off!" I took that to mean a 10. I decided against the chopper since it was only second degree burns to the top of her forearm. At this point had had to yell at the other occupants in the vehicle because they were starting to fight. Nothing like a little concern over a friends burned arm huh?! I quickly started an IV and was getting ready for to give her some morphine when the ambulance showed up. We loaded her up and sent her on her way. They ended up giving her 10 milligrams of morphine before the pain went away. Not that much really.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The first call was for a fall with injuries. The lady, a fairly frequent flyer due to her numerous medical problems, had twisted her ankle the night before. I let Junior practice his patient assessment and treatment. He almost forgot to splint the ankle but did an over all ok job. We loaded her an the ambulance and went back to the station for some PT (physical training).
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We arrived on scene to find a 15 year old boy that had been struck by a pick up. His only obvious injuries were road rash to the right wrist, and a possibly broken left foot. Because of the mechanism of injury I ordered an airship. Why mess around with a kid that could have internal injuries? We placed him on a back board and started an IV before the ambulance showed up. The medic on the ambulance wasn't thrilled that I had ordered a chopper but that wasn't his call. We loaded the kid up and started a second IV en route to the LZ (landing zone). When the chopper was two minutes out it had to abort due to mechanical failure. The chopper crew made it back to their base (I don't know what happened) and the kid was transferred via ambulance to the trauma center.
I found out two days later that the kid does have a broken foot, a compression fracture of the spine and several bulging disks. I don't feel bad about ordering an airship.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
What we saw from station 462 while we were waiting to get called. By now it was up to 20 acres or so.
It got bigger. Now about 100 acres.
And bigger. About 200 acres.
Eric was texting people basically saying "ha ha! We're getting a fire." We were bored and anxious.
Finally we got toned out with several other engines as an immediate need strike team. This means that there are now homes in imminent danger and we need to hurry. We had wasted a couple of hours waiting. Here we are approaching the command post for orders.
Our strike team was assigned to structure protection at the head of the fire. In this photo my engine was getting assigned to protect one house at the end of a culdesac while engine 451 (from 29 Palms Marine Base) was assigned to protect the House just North of us.
Engine 451. Photo taken from our tailboard.
The crew for engine 451 ready to go.
This is a shot of our protection line. This is used if the crap hits the fan and is only used to protect us. The other line is set up to protect the house. We also had our exact GPS coordinated to give to the helicopters if we needed them.
This is the home that we were protecting. The guy in the white shirt and blue jeans is Bob. He is the home owner. Since this was my first time defending someones home I thought that I'd introduce myself. He and his neighbors went and bought a bunch of water for us.
This is the fire coming toward us. Luckily the house we were protecting had great brush clearance. It makes our job almost boring (not quite). That's our structure protection line going out in front of Bob's house.
The fire just as it reaches the ridge.
It was surreal being there. Having watched multiple brush fires on TV and seeing everything it was weird to be living it. People were holding signs saying thank you and standing in the streets waving. Cars were stopped all over and were honking at us as we passed. The smoke from the fire would pass in front of the sun and it would suddenly get darker. The smell of smoke mixed with the crackling of the fire.
Here the fire is starting to come down the ridge at us.
This was as far as the fire would get. Due to the lack of wind, a down hill grade (it's harder for a fire to burn down a hill than up a hill), and some expert water drops by some helicopter crews our job was easy.
After the fire stopped we (our strike team got added to another) advanced hose up the fire line. This is the same ridge that was in the last photo.
Here is the view of the other side of the ridge.
Eric taking a breather.
Alright, we stopped it. Now what?
I like this shot. There were a lot of things smoldering which produced a smokey haze.
You can see the hose along the fire line on the left. Here we are starting to mop up.
Eric keeping hydrated.
Mopping up on a fire like this means using one inch hoses to soak everything within 100 feet of the edge of the fire. Those engines that have foam use that. In the background of this photo you can see the dirt road that was used as a fire line on the North end of the fire.
CalFire engines 3586 and 3560 are in the middle of this shot. Their crews laid hose from their engines all the way to where this shot was taken.
The fire ended up burning about 350 acres. We lost only one structure but no homes or businesses. This was considered to be a medium size fire. It's also the first real brush fire of the season. About 2200 we got to go back to the engine and grab some food and drinks. We had MRE's that we brought with us. I had beef stew. It was alright. At about midnight we were finally released from the fire. The red cross had set up at the command post and was giving out sandwiches, water, and Gatorade. It was appreciated. By the time that we got back to the station, got the engine back into service, showered, and got to bed it was almost 0200. The fire made for a long day.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
356 acres burn; investigators probe cause of Acoma Fire
|By Dave Miller and Stacy Moore / Hi-Desert Star||Sunday, June 8, 2008 1:04 PM PDT|
YUCCA VALLEY — An elderly citizen was treated for smoke inhalation, just one structure — a shed — was destroyed and 356 acres have burned in the Acoma Fire that broke out here around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, county Battalion Chief Kat Opliger reported late Sunday morning.
The fire began on federal Bureau of Land Management property in the rugged, brush-covered terrain near Golden Bee Drive and Acoma Trail, said Opliger.
The flames were caused by humans, she confirmed, adding, “Whether it was accidental or intentional has yet to be determined.”
“The sheriff’s department arson/bomb division, a San Bernardino County fire investigator and a BLM California Desert District fire investigator as we speak are combing the point of origin for evidence of how the fire started,” Opliger said.
By late Sunday morning, the fire was 100 percent contained and was expected to be completely controlled within a few days.
Speaking from the makeshift command center on Acoma Avenue, Opliger said 128 burned acres were on Bureau of Land Management property and 228 acres were on locally owned land.
The Bureau of Land Management, represented by Tim Dunfee, and San Bernardino County Fire Department, represented by Opliger, had formed a unified command in charge of the fire.
Saturday, according to Opliger, facing the fire were 350 men and women on the ground and 16 aircraft in the air, with crews from Cal Fire (the state firefighting department), the BLM, the National Park Service, Forestry Service and Twentynine Palms Marine base along with personnel and equipment from communities including Redlands, Loma Linda, Palm Springs, San Bernardino City and Chino. “All fire agencies in the local area were involved,” said Opliger.
Their challenges were the light, flashy fuel that predominates the terrain, strong, shifting winds, critical resource needs and the hot, dry conditions.
“Our critical resource needs ended up being water tenders that were small enough to travel over the dirt roads and rough terrain out here,” said Opliger. “We were able to get what we needed."
Overnight, assigned crews dropped down to about 100 firefighters. On Sunday, about 140 remained working on the lines while one helicopter flew overhead.
At the western end of Kismet Drive where it ends in hilly, dirt-road country, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Tom Foley reported a strike team of engines and two more teams of hand crews were working to ensure the fire stayed under control. “We’re trying to improve the line of containment and mop up the Joshua trees and other vegetation that’s still on fire and threatening us,” Foley said.
Unfortunately, Opliger reported, conditions with wind, low humidity and high temperatures continued Sunday, “which will hamper our efforts.”
The Morongo Basin chapter of the Red Cross has been supporting fire crews since Saturday with food, water and Gatorade. Chapter Executive Director Candace Fritz said an emergency shelter was set up in the Yucca Valley Community Center as a precaution, but wasn’t used.
The only mandatory evacuation was called as a precaution at the Desert Manor board and care facility, a skilled nursing facility on Cholla Avenue that is home to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Firefighters mitigated the threat to the facility and the evacuation called off, Opliger said.
Evacuations lifted in Yucca Valley wildfire, outbuilding destroyed
Staff reports • The Desert Sun • June 7, 2008
Fire officials have lifted a voluntary evacuation request for more than 200 homes in Yucca Valley, as firefighters slowly began gaining some control of a more than 350-acre wildfire in the southwest portion of the high-desert town.
San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman Aaron Kendall said the 356-acre fire was 35 percent contained. One outbuilding was destroyed, and the lone injury reported was a citizen complaint of smoke inhalation, he said.
"At least 10" different fire agencies and 350 firefighters are battling the blaze, Kendall said.
"They’re going to continue to work the fire throughout the night and try to get a good handle on it," he said.
The fire, burning just south along Acoma Trail near Deer Trail and Golden Bee Drive, was reported at about 1:26 p.m. A large smoke plume could be seen over the Little San Bernardino Mountains north of Desert Hot Springs for much of this afternoon.