First Responders Update

By Kelly Gordon -
President, First Responders
  Happy Holidays! I think we all are hopeful that 2021 will be a better year for everyone! 2020 brought a great deal of stress, anxiety, worry, and feelings of dread. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I try to be mindful and sensitive when broaching subjects to write about in my monthly article. I never want to sound gruff or offend anyone. With that in mind, I do need to address some topics that aren’t easy. It is mind blowing that people call us for medical emergencies and still do not put on a mask. We shouldn’t have to arrive on scene and have to ask everyone to please put one on. WE always wear them to protect YOU; putting one on for us shouldn’t be a chore. Along those same lines, we’ve been faced with some very rude comments from some of you who have called for our services. In November, someone actually said, “You people are useless”. WE people are volunteers who come to you in an emergency. We come from our homes, work, dinner, the golf course, pickle ball and tennis courts, and from a deep sleep in our bed at all hours of the night. We deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect. We recently had an incident where a neighbor of a patient asked our Paramedic to move his firetruck so their guests could leave. If you were in town (not on the island) and stuck behind a firetruck and an ambulance, would you go over to one of their personnel and ask them to move their vehicle? Odds are pretty good that you wouldn’t even consider it. When we arrive on scene, we have A LOT to think about in terms of parking. The Skidaway Island First Responders (SIFR) volunteers have to make sure they leave room for the firetruck and ambulance. The Paramedic on the firetruck needs to be able to have easy access to the patient. Likewise, we must leave room for the ambulance AND be mindful of not damaging property. There are a lot of moving parts when pulling up to scene. Honestly, interrupting a Paramedic or First Responder while they’re treating a patient shouldn’t be a topic I ever need to address. All EMS calls are focusing on the patient, and anyone else shouldn’t be involved. Asking us to move our vehicles isn’t acceptable, nor will it ever happen. We also faced a similar situation in November while on a call in the middle of the street. A woman was blocked from leaving her street and was extremely rude and making hand gestures to communicate that we were in her way. I can assure you that no matter how many times you wave to us or mouth obscenities, we will not stop patient care. We do not want to cause any of you to be stuck on your street or in your driveway. Please be aware that if we are there, it’s because we need to be in order to provide the best care to our community. Our goal isn’t to stress anyone out. That being said, please show some empathy and be patient. It’s not difficult to think of others -- especially during a medical emergency. The majority of SIFR have white light bars on their cars. We typically use those lights and our hazard lights when responding to medical calls. I beg all of you to please pay attention when you’re driving on the island. If you see one of us, please safely yield so that we can get to the calls as quickly as possible. It isn’t necessary to damage your car or pull over in a hurry and hit a curb. When you can safely pull over for us, we would really appreciate it. Most likely, if you see a car with flashing white lights on the roof or on the dash of a car, it’s us. In closing, PLEASE go pick up and fill out the yellow medical cards from The Landings Association. I’ve written about these cards for years. Get one for each family member and fill them out. Put them on the outside of your refrigerator or inside a plastic baggy and place inside (on the right side) of the refrigerator door. I hope all of you have a wonderful and safe holiday. Don’t ever hesitate to call the SIFR. We are always here to help you in a medical emergency.

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

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