National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System: AEDs Save Firefighters

Having one of your own go down is one of the most traumatic situations a firefighter can face. The advent of advanced life support, AEDs, and trained first responders has combined to save countless lives. However, the adrenaline rush floods the body fuller when it is one of our own, as in this week’s featured report:

“I had been dispatched as a first responder to a medical call near my home. I responded, and found that the medical unit was on scene upon my arrival. There were two personnel on the ambulance, and I assisted them in loading the patient into the ambulance. I spotted traffic as the ambulance driver backed out of the driveway. When the driver went enroute to the hospital, I proceeded towards the spot where I had left my medical bag in the yard of the residence. That’s all I recall until I awakened in the hospital after coming out of a coma four days later. I had suffered a cardiac arrest. When I had collapsed in the yard, a person next door to the residence saw me on the ground. I was wearing my work uniform with my radio strapped on and the man started transmitting on my radio that he had found a fireman on the ground. Dispatch asked his location and, after giving the information, a nearby engine company turned around and responded to the location where they immediately started CPR procedures. Following a shock from an AED, I was rushed to the ER. I was released following successful treatment.”

The lifesaving that occurs in this week’s report was dependent on several factors: the victim having his own radio, an alert bystander, and rapid intervention by the firefighter’s colleagues. Once you have read the entire account (CLICK HERE), consider the following:

1. Do all of your members ride with a portable radio when they are on duty?
2. What portion of the fire department’s budget is spent on wellness and fitness?
3. How would the scenario in this week’s report play out in your department? Do you have immediate access to an AED and advanced life support?
4. What is your department’s protocol for clearing incidents? Do you ever leave a member on scene to clean up or clear the scene alone?
5. When was your last physical? Did it evaluate your fitness for duty as a first responder?

Have you experienced a near miss due to a health issue? Or have a “save” from a health screening? Give the gift of another year by submitting your report to today.

Note: The questions posed by the reviewers are designed to generate discussion and thought in the name of promoting firefighter safety. They are not intended to pass judgment on the actions and performance of individuals in the reports.

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