Every day, paramedics rely on members of the community to assist in medical emergencies. You might not realise it, but simple things like ensuring your house number is easy to spot and moving pets away from the scene can make a real difference to patient care.
The Paramedics TV series airing on Channel 9 highlights many ways the Victorian community can assist our work.
In this week’s episode, an excited off-leash dog in a park thinks that our patient Lisa is up for a game – and proceeds to jump on her leg as she lays on the ground in severe pain. Watch here:
“I think to myself, that dog’s going to stop. The owner’s going to stop that dog,” says paramedic Amanda on the show.
Paramedic Leonard, who was also on scene treating Lisa, said locking up or restraining pets is a simple thing that people could do to assist in an emergency, along with clearly numbering their house or business.
“Seconds or even minutes can be lost trying to find an address if there isn’t clear numbering that’s visible both day and night,” Leonard said.
“Over time that numbering can fade or be hidden by trees which makes our job much harder.”
Before paramedics arrive, Triple Zero (000) call-takers at the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) will also give callers advice on how to help paramedics before they arrive.
This includes things like ensuring there is nothing in the way of paramedics accessing the patient, and gathering medications ready to show paramedics.
“It’s also important to ensure your front door is unlocked so we can get in, especially if you are home alone,” said Leonard.
Here are ten tips to help us provide you and your loved ones with the best emergency care:
- Clearly number your house and business. Seconds count in life threatening situations, and we’d hate to waste time searching for your address.
- Download the Emergency+ app to your Smartphone. This will give you your exact location including latitude and longitude which can help the Triple Zero (000) call-taker locate your address.
- Leave a light on. If you are calling us at night or early morning, please leave a light on outside.
- Have someone outside to wave us down. If possible, have someone standing outside the address looking out for emergency services.
- Unlock your front door. And clear away anything that might get in the way of us accessing the patient.
- Lock up pets. Pets, particularly dogs, can be very distracting during an emergency and sometimes get in the way of treatment. Please lock them up or, if you are out and about and see an emergency, immediately restrain them.
- If possible, provide the patient’s history. If the patient is unable to speak, it’s helpful if someone else can provide a brief history on what happened. Consider preparing a sheet of paper with the patient’s medical history, current medications, allergies, GP details, ambulance membership number and other relevant information – ready to hand over to paramedics if an emergency occurs.
- Gather medications. If the patient is on regular medication, gather the medications to present to the paramedics.
- Safety first. If the incident is on the road, ensure everyone is safe and where possible off the road, especially in poor visibility or at night.
- Be extra vigilant in remote areas. If you in an a remote area, make sure you have a way of contacting emergency services, such as having a distress beacon on hand such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).
Don’t worry if you can’t remember all of these things, or if there isn’t time. The most important thing is to listen to the Triple Zero (000) call taker – they will talk you through everything you need to do.
Catch-up on episodes of Paramedics on 9Now.