I’ve admired paramedics ever since I was a kid in the 70s, watching the old TV show Emergency!
Since then, in real life, I’ve seen paramedics do amazing things, with such kindness and compassion. A while ago, I saw on Facebook that Nicholas Chernen, an old high school friend of mine, was in paramedic school at the Justice Institute of BC.
I wrote to congratulate him on his career choice, and also asked what he is learning about staying safe on the job. Here’s what he told me:
“The first thing we always think about is hazards. Is there anything in/on/around the emergency scene that could cause harm to ourselves or fellow first responders? (We’re no good to anyone if we get injured.)
“Of course we do not want to aggravate a dangerous situation to cause further harm to a patient or other bystanders, meaning that we may have to coordinate with fire and police prior to moving in to do our work.
“Hazards could be weapons, unstable structures, smoke, fire, fumes, water, electricity, uncontrolled crowds etc.
“The other major safety issue is BSI (body substance isolation). We want to protect ourselves from body fluids so we wear gloves, eye protection, masks and gowns sometimes too.
“Any sharp object (needles, lancets, even bandage packaging with corners that could tear a glove) is put into a “sharps” container for safe disposal later.
“There are lots of things to take into consideration when entering an emergency scene, and the cool thing is watching the veterans take it all in so quickly and process it, in order to make their choices about procedures of care.”
I picture these veterans sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience with students, and this increases my admiration even more. It’s amazing to see how they can rush calmly into chaos, dealing with situations that would make some people faint or throw up. It takes a very special person to do this job, and I’m so thankful for each and every person who chooses this career.