We have done a poor job educating the public.
No, really, we have.
Take this as an example:
1) You get a call to a crowded mall for a man down. When you arrive, the patient is in cardiac arrest with no CPR in progress.
2) You find the same thing, only now at a home.
3) You are called to a home for a minor cut.
4) You are called to the interstate for an accident that didn’t exist and the caller didn’t stop when they called.
The outcomes to these calls:
1) Patient dies
2) Patient dies
3) Band aid; refusal
4) People on 4 wheelers on the side of the road left their truck parked where they went in. No accident.
If you have been listening to EMS Garage (and soon Pedi-U and First Few Moments) you have probably heard me rant on about what we HAVE done in EMS education.
That being we have drilled into people’s heads that once they call 911, no further action is required until the fire department, EMS, police, or any combination arrive. We left out the part that they should be able to deliver basic first aid or CPR until someone arrives to take over. We have failed to teach primitive medicine until advanced (Basic EMT’s fall into this category when compared to a lay person) arrives.
We have also failed to properly teach parents about homeproofing and bicycle helmets and knee and elbow pads, or how to properly home treat a fever or other illness, and how the way the stay out of the emergency room at the nearest hospital is prevention.
You know the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Now that pound is like 30 pounds, and the sheer weight of it is crushing urban and even some suburban EMS systems.
The funny thing is that after I had talked about this on Garage, we ended up talking this at the station at work, how we need fire prevention/education AND EMS public education, and this was coming from a guy who knew little, if nothing, about EMS systems or structure at large but he knew that the calls we were running for preventable and home treatable illness or injuries were killing US, and the hospitals.
I remember back to a disaster and incident management class I had when I was at Oklahoma State, taught by David Neal, PhD, and how he challenged us (and particularly those of us in the fire service) on many issues related to first response and the idea that we are NOT the TRUE first responders and that in a disaster people will help out their neighbor.
If anyone remembers this story, that doesn’t seem to be true. It makes an interesting point, however.
People are not prepared, for anything.
What will happen if calls to 911 go unanswered? (People die, as we’ve seen in Detroit and Pittsburgh)
People are not ready to do the right thing, and we need to turn our focus to restoring the “can do” attitude when it comes to helping your neighbor.
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” PHILIPPIANS 2:4