Thursday, May 12 2005
A lot of EMS is about what some folk might consider “snap judgments”, but that term usually has bad connotations. Call it “quick thinking” instead.
What really needs to happen, often, is a lot of data needs to be sucked in and processed in a very short amount of time so we can stop staring and begin treating. For instance, at the scene of an auto accident, certainly everyone in the car is going to be treated to the best of our abilities. But some need help NOW while others can wait thirty seconds. This is the whole triage thing – worst goes first, and figure it out in 20 seconds or less.
The same twenty-second rule applies to mass casualty incidents (I’ve never had one). Victims are literally tagged, and the color of the tags indicates the severity of their injuries: Red is priority, yellow “soonest”, green “walking wounded”, and black means dead. The first EMS unit on the scene, not otherwise engaged, goes through tagging the victims instead of treating them – treatment comes from the units which follow.
What all this boils down to is that the”quick thinking” ability is Good, and so is naturally carried over into other aspects of the job. Sometimes, however, a hideous transformation turns “quick thinking on the scene” into “snap judgment at the station”.
This is well illustrated by some folk who insist on pigeonholing others, a sort of “First Impressions Gone Wild” effect which causes otherwise sane individuals to draw erroneous conclusions. For instance:
Beer Mary defines a “Randy Rescue” as the “New Guy with more shit on his belt than Batman.”
It is true that DTs has distended his shapely 34-inch waist by the inclusion of a few useful items which depend from his belt. And although he’s never been called “Randy Rescue”, it is also true that a firefighter has been known, occasionally, to ask, “Got enough shit on your belt, there, DTs?” This is the sort of comment which might call one’s clarity to question.
For it is to laugh – one such firefighter was later desperately seeking a seatbelt cutter when DTs passed over his leatherman tool, you’re very welcome.
Many a PD officer has been glad of DTs Enviable Selection of GloveWear when the vomitous drunk was headed to adult detention, rather than the hospital. Both latex and nitrile flavors, since some folk have latex allergies.
And while it is true that no fewer than five light sources may be found in various pouches, it is a canard that DTs carries enough candlepower to replace a tanning bed.
Anyone who derides the cell phone obviously has not tried to radio the hospital from our fair city’s “dead spots”. The digital camera in the same pouch is for you, fire guys, when the bambulance is staging on your scenes – we’re much too busy to take pictures of ourselves when it’s a medical call.
The rest of the stuff, trauma shears, penlights, pager – all standard issue, everybody has that stuff. And of course a good pen or two.
Damn! I am a Randy Rescue. If only my BDU trousers had any spare pockets, but alas, they’re stuffed with…
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