By Clinton Allan
From the moment an emergency call gets dispatched, there are several ways you can assist a Paramedic crew.
When you first notice sirens and flashing lights in your rearview mirror, please slow down, signal and pull over to the right.
Ambulances with emergency systems activated will exceed posted speed limits and proceed through red lights when safe to do so. Knowing what to expect from other drivers makes for a faster and safer response.
After clearing the way on the road, try clearing the way at your home. When possible, move cars from the driveway so the ambulance has plenty of room to maneuver and a clear exit route.
If the patient is unable to walk, Paramedics will likely bring a stretcher or collapsible chair into the home for extrication. These are large pieces of equipment, so please ensure that furniture and household items are not obstructing the path.
While we all love your pets, meeting them during a crisis is not ideal, so have dogs removed to another room with the door closed.
While Paramedics are attending to the patient there are many things you, as a friend, neighbour, or family member can do to assist. Gather up medications or a medications list as well as the patient’s health card.
If the patient is confused or unable to speak, please be prepared to provide information and answer questions on their behalf.
Depending on the weather, you may wish to bundle up the patient before they leave. Go ahead and get shoes and slippers ready but hold off on dressing them in sweaters or housecoats until after the Paramedics’ assessment, as bulky clothing restricts our ability to take a blood pressure, listen to lung sounds, give a needle or apply ECG pads.
When it’s time to go, we are usually happy to transport one family member to the Emergency Department, along with the patient.
LCAS Paramedics thank you for the helping hand!
Clinton Allan is a Lanark County Ambulance Service Paramedic based in Carleton Place