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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Home Invasion (Changes in Perspective)

There is an assisted living facility in my district that generates a lot of calls. One type of call that we get often is the Lifealert alarm. I'm sure you remember the commercial, "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up."

I think that most EMS responders will tell you that the vast majority of these calls are false alarms. I can only think of one time when it wasn't.

We were toned out at a little after midnight to the third floor of the assisted living facility facility for a medical alarm. Once we arrived we were met by the manager (who has keys to the apartments so that we can get in without breaking things) and we walked upstairs. I knocked on the door rather forcefully and yelled "Fire Department." There was no answer. I knocked again and got the same result. At this point the manager opened the door for us. I went right as I entered the residence toward the bathroom. My engineer went straight with both of us shouting "Fire department!" The last thing I want is to scare someone and get shot. As my engineer entered the bedroom an elderly woman in bed opened her eyes and screamed. Her husband was a little slower and calmer in his reaction. After calming them down we made sure that there was no actual medical emergency (other than the heart attack we just gave that poor old woman). We then apologized and showed ourselves to the door, then bid the manager goodnight.

A few blinks later (about 3 hours) we were toned out for the victim of a home invasion robbery and assault. As we were responding we couldn't help but laugh at the irony that just a few short hours before we were the home invaders. Turns out our patient was a 48 year old Desert Storm vet that had been pistol whipped. He had been in his garage, drinking, when he heard his wife scream. He came into the house to find a man with a gun. He quickly attacked the intruder to protect his wife and 10 month old son and got beat in the head. The intruder then ran away. Our Vet was most fortunate that things didn't go further. Because he was a little altered (either from the blow to the head or the alcohol) we sent him to the hospital to get checked out.

PD had us stay on scene for the next 90 minutes just in case they found the guy that did this and things went ugly. Once they had done a thorough search of the area, including K9 units, we were released. So much for a good night sleep.
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