First Responders Update

By Kelly Gordon -
President, First Responders

The line has become blurred regarding Emergency Medical Services. First Responders are now being called out for “assessments” with the caveat that the patient might not need an ambulance. It’s become the new norm for our island in particular. To be honest, it has crossed the line of EMS abuse at this point.

“Back in the day” we all remember when you saw an ambulance at a residence or even at the local K-Mart, you knew something serious had happened. We also can recall when we were playing on the jungle gym at school and fell off, broke our arm, and the teacher’s first inclination was to call your parent to take you to the doctor or hospital. They NEVER called an ambulance.

What has happened to our society, as of late, when we feel like calling for an ambulance, especially knowing they’re scarce with a shortage of personnel nationwide, without any regard for who this might affect? I’ve written many times about what constitutes a true emergency. Medical First Responders, whether they’re volunteers or paid personnel, are not your concierge or primary care physicians, home healthcare providers, or Uber drivers.

This community in particular has become “accustomed” to picking up their phone, calling for emergent help and fully believing it’s okay not to truly need an ambulance. When you or your family member call 912-355-6688, you are calling a REAL dispatch center. The people answering your call are taking calls from the ENTIRE county.

Once you make said call, the dispatcher is paging the responding EMS unit to be in route to your location. If you are calling for a non-emergent reason and another call drops that truly is an emergency, you are preventing them from getting the help they need.

On our island in particular, when you call the emergency number, dispatch is simultaneously paging the VOLUNTEER Skidaway Island First Responders, the on-island PAID personnel, and the off-island ambulance. ALL three of those units are headed to your location to provide EMERGENCY medical services.

If you call with the intentions to just be “checked out” and have ZERO plans of going to a hospital, you are taking advantage of an already thinned out service. Please be mindful of this when you think about calling us. On those same lines, IF you call us and refuse transport to a hospital, even after you have been advised otherwise, it is simply selfish.

When we come to your home and are sent away and immediately called back an hour later because you’ve “changed your mind” and want to go to a hospital, you, once again, are taking away help for someone else. I’ve stated multiple times that we are here when you have an emergency. That hasn’t changed. All that to say, being called to your home in the middle of the night for an assessment isn’t acceptable.

Please keep in mind, the paid paramedic on the island also is a firefighter. If he or she is at your home for a non-emergent reason and there happens to be a fire call within the same timeframe, that firefighter CANNOT leave you until there is a transfer of care to off-island ambulance personnel.

If you are using our services for a lift assist or for an “assessment”, you could be risking the life and structure of a neighbor whose house is on fire. We are considered remote. It takes a while for additional personnel to arrive on Skidaway Island, whether it’s a fire or an EMS call. I don’t need to go into the specifics of how quickly a fire can spread and cause damage. I think that’s pretty obvious.

I implore all of you to think about the information I’ve provided in this article before you call for EMS. We find that there are MANY people who need us who do not call, versus the ones who don’t actually need us who call us frequently. We are called Emergency Medical Services for a reason. Please don’t take that lightly.

As always, if you or a loved one is experiencing a true emergency and need transportation via ambulance to the hospital, please don’t ever hesitate to call 912-355-6688. We are here to help in any and all emergencies.

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

Visit to read the original article.