Safety and the EMS Professional

SCENE SAFETY, AND BSI!! [TECH HOLDS UP HANDS AS IF HE/SHE WERE DISPLAYING EMS
“JAZZ HANDS”]

It’s a phrase we all get used to saying, but how often do we actually put this into practice? Along with the “Health and Well-Being of the EMS Professional” This is another favorite lecture of mine to teach. I will take this lecture and drag it out forever to literally beat a dead horse. What happens when violence finds you? It is easy to protect yourself when you know what kind of situation you are walking into, or potentially walking into. How do we protect ourselves when it inadvertently begins to surround us?

My station is based out of an area in Boston known as the Southwest Corridor. I am not a City employee. I work for a private service in the area that primary provides secondary and transfer coverage. There has been the usual summer spike in violence in the Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roslindale neighborhoods. The most recent shooting happened to be a triple shooting and practically right across the street from our base. See the story here: Roslindale Shooting.

More than ever we need to be cognizant of that going on around us. Some may say that I can be a bit paranoid about scene safety, but I can assure you that there are things on scene that I will notice 10 mintues before any one else. I worked with a friend of mine one day, and we were in this flop house in the “Big City” somewhere. I had asked her on the way out: “Hey, did you notice….” and continued to list of several rather obvious details to the call at hand. She had no idea what I was talking about.

Gone are the happy go-lucky days of only worrying about scene safety when we are actively assigned a call. “Scene Safety” now applies from the time we punch in, to the time we punch out. We are in mobile bill boards, uniforms that can very easily be mistaken for law enforcement, and are housed in neighborhoods that I wouldn’t send my worst enemy into.

Next time you head out from your station, don’t just look both ways to avoid those masshole drivers. Look to notice that male standing on the corner. Think: What is he doing? Is he holding something? Am I trapped in traffic if something happens? Pay special attention to that guy that is riding your bumper. Is he trying to cause some sort of road rage incident? Like I tell all my students in lecture, make sure you always have a way OUT. This applies to traffic, scenes, and when you are out in the bars. You never know when your going to find yourself in pinch and rushing for safety!

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