Yesterday I was sitting at the PC trying with some success to avoid work. On the scanner, the state police started discussing a ‘welfare check’ in my EMS squad territory. Something sensitive was going on and someone might be injured (pardon my vagueness). The police were going to go over to the location and check on the person. Over the course of a few minutes, it became clear that the state police were going to take a while to get there. I realized that my squad was probably going to be called out soon. The troopers were vague about the location and were going to communicate the address among themselves by cell phone.
Realizing that my radio would not pick up the call if my squad was toned out, I called the EMS dispatch center, identified myself (they know me as C-91), and asked if anything was going on in my service area. They said they didn’t know of anything, so I hung up and went back to working.
On the scanner, several troopers were discussing the situation. Finally, the senior trooper said that an ambulance should be sent over to standby near the residence. I realized that this meant my first-responder squad was definitely going to be toned out.
My car was over at the house, so I went over to get it. I stopped in and called the EMS dispatcher again, and they still didn’t know about anything going on in my service area. They forwarded my call to the regional state police dispatch center. I explained who I was and they told me that they had not notified the local EMS dispatch yet but were about to. They put me on hold while they did so. The state dispatcher came back on the line and gave me the name and address of the location and a few additional details. I had the 911 map in front of me and found the address fairly quickly; the call was on my side of town.
I went out and got in the car and drove on over to the location. As I got close, I called the EMS dispatch on the radio, told them I was on scene, and asked if I should standby to wait for the police. They said the police should arrive in about ten minutes and I should wait. I pulled into a nearby driveway from where I could see the location.
The ambulance called dispatch and reported they were on the way, but didn’t know where the address was. I gave them the 911 map page number. After a few minutes, the ambulance reported that they were standing by at an intersection nearby, and that C-91, me, was welcome to join them. I drove back to the intersection, parked, and got out to talk to the ambulance squad people.
There were four EMTs from the transporting squad. I recognized one of the squaddies from the rollover on the mountain access road. I introduced myself and everyone said hello. After a few minutes, the state police called and said they were close by, so we all piled into the ambulance and drove up to the location. Before we got there, the state police called and said they were 10-23 and 10-22; they had arrived, no one was there, and we could disregard the call. We went up to the location anyway as the squaddies (who seemed to have different but complimentary information to my own) wanted some details from the police for their records.
We spoke with the police for a minute, then piled back into the rig and went back to the intersection where we had left my car. We all said goodbye and I got out and drove home.
In contrast to the rude interaction I had with the squaddies on the mountain access road a few weeks ago, the four EMTs were very nice to me, seemed genuinely pleased to meet me, invited me to ride with them in the ambulance, and explained various procedural things that I was unfamiliar with.
Despite the fact that there was no patient contact, I thought the call went really well and validated my membership on the first responder squad. I knew even before I got in the car what I was possibly facing in terms of injuries and what sorts of interventions I might have to perform. I had showed up first by five or ten minutes to the call; had there been a real emergency, I would have been able to initiate care that much faster. The ambulance showed up with four EMTs, at least two of whom were EMT-Intermediates, so my BLS skills would have been reinforced with ALS skills and transport within ten minutes. Very comforting.