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Monday, August 27, 2012

A Break From The Norm

The call came in around 3 in the afternoon. It was for an unknown medical (which always makes me wonder how dispatch knows there's a medical problem in the first place). As we turned the last corner we noticed several PD units right about where we needed to go (while they are usually there at the same address we had, on the previous call, ran into an officer taking a report from the neighbor of our patient). Dispatch also updated us and said we were assisting PD with a ladder.

After talking with the officers we found out that our potential patient was a 65 year old man that had recently lost his job. His mom said that he had been heavily drinking for several days and that he hadn't answered knocks on the door for quite a while. She said that there was also a loaded shotgun by the locked bedroom door.

The sergeant set up a plan where PD would stack up outside his bedroom door and wait for the signal to bust in. Meanwhile we would very quietly set up the ladder outside the bedroom window. Thankfully the blinds weren't drawn all the way down. Then another officer would scale the ladder and peek in the window. If the suspect/patient was not near the weapon he would give the signal and the officers in the hallway would make their entry.

It all went off without a hitch.

The man had been sleeping off his booze and wasn't really thrilled to see us but was none the less cooperative. He was adamant that he didn't need medical attention but the officers disagreed. They placed him on a psychiatric hold (5150) and AMR took him to the hospital.

In the end we were all just happy that the outcome was such a good one. There was a lot of potential for things to go sideways.

Friday, August 17, 2012

New Traditions

This last shift I was talking to my BC. He's been in the fire service for 35 years and is getting close to retirement. He spoke of a tradition that he has with his kids and it's one that I'm adopting for mine.

Every year his kids choose new bed sheets for him. Doesn't matter what it is. It's a way to connect with the his kids even though he's at work. Admittedly his sons have tried to get him some pink unicorns or something like that but his wife put the kabosh on that one.

So coming soon to my bed will be my new sheets chosen by my kids. I wonder what they'll get me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just Knock Louder

When the tones got me up at 0230 I instantly knew that I was going to have a hard time going back to sleep. There are times when I wake up and my body thinks that I've slept enough when I clearly haven't. This was one of those time.

When we pulled up to the apartment building we noticed a young man behind the closed parking lot security gate. He said he was trying to open it for us but couldn't. As we made our way to the back of the large complex he informed us that he had been trying for several hours to get a hold of his mother. She had called him earlier in the day and asked him to come over but now wouldn't answer her phone or the door. Although he had heard her moaning a couple of times when he knocked loudly.

We stood on the 3 floor in front of my patients apartment and knocked. No answer. Her son was now getting very anxious and was starting to get in the way so I sent him to look for AMR. We discussed our options and decided to force the door. I then realized it was a steel door in a steel frame. At least the walls weren't concrete.

Instead of just making the long trek back to the rig to grab the irons so we could "properly" force the door I decided to give it a couple of good kicks to see if that might just do the trick. After the first kick I knew it wasn't going to give but I gave it a second one anyways. Mostly out of frustration. then, from behind the door, we were yelled at by our patient. "Don't break down my door!!"

I guess the son just needed to knock a little louder.

We announced ourselves as members of the fire department and asked her to come unlock the door. As we stepped inside I could hear my engineer apologize to the neighbors for all the noise.

My patient was alert and oriented but slow in answering questions. She admitted that every time she fell asleep she felt as if it were a deeper and deeper sleep. Thankfully she was willing to go in and get checked out because it was obvious that there was something wrong. Hopefully it all gets figured out and we don't have to go back.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

When To Roll Your Vehicle

The best way to survive a vehicle accident is not to be in one. Other things you can do is to use the safety equipment installed in your car. Doing something as simple as putting on your seatbelt can save your life.

If only you could control when the accident were to occur. I would tell you to have it sometime between 7 and 9 in the morning, at least in the city. That's because this is prime off duty firefighter commute time. If something bad happens, qualified help is probably right behind you.

After working an overtime shift I hopped on the freeway and headed home. I was about 15 miles into my commute. I was in the zone. All the windows in my truck were down, the music was blasting away. It was a beautiful morning.

Then things seemed to slow down. I watched as the black car to vehicles up was hit in the side by the car next to it. The driver hit her brakes and slid into the K-rails.

K-rails are designed to "...both to minimise damage in incidental accidents and reduce the likelihood of a car crossing into oncoming lanes in the event of a collision." It did exactly as it was designed to do. But in the process of preventing the car from entering oncoming traffic it caused the vehicle to flip. The car rolled over one and a half times ending up on its roof sliding down the number 2 lane. The vehicle that caused the accident pulled over to the right shoulder without incident.

I hit the brakes and my hazards and made sure the person behind me wasn't going to try and use my tailgate as a hood ornament.I slowly picked my way through the debris field and stopped just past the upside down car. As I exited the truck I noticed another off duty firefighter from a neighboring department mirroring my actions. We approached the drivers side window and saw that she appeared mostly uninjured and that she was climbing out on her own.

She had been wearing her seat belt and the airbags had done their job. I did a quick assessment on here and found that she had only a little bit of pain to her right arm, probably from the airbag. After a few minutes the first due engine pulled up. I gave the captain a quick rundown and headed back to the commute.

If you have to get into an accident, between 7 and 9 in the mornings would be the time to do it.
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