First Responders Update

By Kelly Gordon -
President, First Responders

It is scorching outside already, and if you’ve not noticed, it can come on pretty quickly if you aren’t paying attention. My sweet husband recently became dehydrated, and it didn’t end well. We can all assume we are hydrating appropriately until, well, until we aren’t.

Getting the proper electrolytes BEFORE you play a sport, take a run, hop on your bike, or even go to the pool is crucial. Drinking a small glass of water and sweating out more than you’ve consumed will never end well. Make sure you are adequately hydrating before, during, and after you’ve been exposed to the high temperatures that we have this time of year.

 Let’s talk about what constitutes an emergency requiring emergency medical services so that the line isn’t blurred. Our island is very spoiled. Everyone has gotten accustomed to picking up the phone and calling us for anything and everything. Honestly, I don’t blame you because when you call, we come.

 There have been an unbelievable and unacceptable amount of non-emergency calls made to 912-355-6688 within the past year. As much as we’d like to assist and help, I think there is some confusion about what we do and why we are needed.

 In a true emergency, like a stroke, cardiac event, traumatic injury, heat stroke, head injury, car accident with injuries, drug overdose, or drowning, we want to get to you as quickly as possible. When you call 912-355-6688, the Skidaway Island First Responders, the on-island paid Paramedic, and the off-island ambulance get paged simultaneously. That means we all come to render aid.

 For us to be available for true emergencies, the community must refrain from calling us for non-emergency events. If we are at your home helping you off the floor, moving you from the bed to a chair, or wrapping a finger you’ve cut while cooking, we are unnecessarily tied up and can’t respond to a true emergency.

 Emergency rooms all over this country are packed full of patients. Our local hospitals stay at full capacity because many go there when it’s not truly an emergency. Urgent Care is a great suggestion for someone who needs stitches, has a broken bone, is running a fever, possibly has a urinary tract infection and needs some antibiotics, or even someone experiencing symptoms of a virus.

The great thing about Urgent Care is that they are qualified to treat and manage an array of medical issues. If you arrive at an urgent care facility and they feel like an emergency room is the better place for your issue, they will call an ambulance or direct you there in your vehicle. Calling us, which also calls an ambulance, isn’t always the best choice.

 Home healthcare is a better fit for someone who needs help with ambulating around your home or for basic day-to-day help for someone who lives alone. There are many options in our area, and they’re trained to assist with non-emergent events.

 As I’ve mentioned in a past article, Emergency Medical Services nationwide are short-staffed and suffering terribly right now. The shortage of staff for ambulances combined with abuse of emergency medical services makes for quite the quandary.

We, as a community, need to be more mindful and considerate when calling First Responders. Many times when we are called to a home, the patient, patient’s spouse, or family member states they don’t want to go to the hospital; they just want us to check them out. Time is of the essence with many medical emergencies, and it is crucial that all of you think about what is and isn’t a true emergency.

We want to serve this community as well as we can. That said, there has to be some accountability on your end to differentiate between something that is non-emergent versus what is a true medical emergency. We can’t continue to be spread so thinly and simultaneously be available for true emergencies.

When you call us, please keep in mind that you are not only tying up our team, but the paramedic and off-island ambulance are also pulled away from emergencies. The end goal for all of us is to help when there is a true emergency. By law, we cannot leave a call that is non-emergent to respond to something more serious.

 At the end of the day, we must ALL think about what EMS truly is. Because it takes the off-island ambulance a while to get to us, it is vital that my team and the paid Paramedic are available to intercede while a patient waits for transportation. Minutes make a difference in a true emergency, and I would hate for ANY OF YOU who are facing something emergent not to have our services available because we are tied up with something or someone who truly didn’t need us.

 The Skidaway Island First Responders are here to help. Please remember that your neighbors need us. We are trained to assist in all medical emergencies and hope you all consider the consequences for your neighbors when calling us for non-emergent events.

 Stay safe, stay hydrated, enjoy your summer, and most of all, thank you for your continued suppo

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

Visit to read the original article.