In Brief: To read more about EMS safety, visit jems.com/trainingFor more of the latest EMS news, visit jems.com/newsThis article originally appeared in January 2012 JEMS as “On Target: Are EMS providers trained for dangerous patients?.” Physio-Control Leaving MedtronicPhysio-Control Inc., manufacturer of LIFEPAK monitors/defibrillators, the LUCAS chest compression system and AEDs, is leaving parent company Medtronic. A global, private investment firm, Bain Capital, has acquired Physio-Control for approximately $487 million. The deal should be finalized during the first quarter of 2012.Current President and future Chief Executive Officer of Physio-Control, Brian Webster says Medtronic’s divestment of Physio-Control is understandable because Medtronic focuses on treatment in hospitals and through surgery, rather than first-response scenarios. Always an EMS-centered company, Webster says Physio-Control now “can really put the emphasis on EMS and bring out great technology.” He predicts an acceleration of new products and markets with Bain’s investments in the company.Webster says Bain saw a business plan, robust product plan and product strategy, which they were looking to invest in.Bain Capital Managing Director Chris Gordon says, “Physio-Control is an impressive market leader. We are extremely enthusiastic about the company’s growth prospects, and we look forward to working alongside Brian Webster and the whole Physio-Control team to support their strategic plans.”Physio-Control was founded in 1955 by cardiovascular surgeon Dr. K. William Edmark. His research led to the first commercial defibrillator. Physio-Control joined Medtronic in 1998. From 2004—2006, Physio-Control was known as Medtronic Emergency Response Systems. It regained its original name when Medtronic said it wanted to release Physio-Control as a separate company. Pro Bono is written by attorneys Doug Wolfberg and Steve Wirth of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth LLC, a national EMS-industry law firm. Visit the firm’s website at www.pwwemslaw.com for more EMS law information. EMS personnel need to make personal safety a priority, or they face becoming a grim statistic, say experts concerned about violence against medical workers.In recent months, there have been several states that have reported EMS workers being beaten or worse while doing their job of providing patient care. In many cases, the incidents expose a key area of unpreparedness in the field. “We have this belief in our EMS culture that there are calls that are dangerous, and there are calls that aren’t very dangerous,” says Mike Taigman, a security expert and general manager of American Medical Response. “The reality is, it is very difficult to predict safety.”For example, a man attacked a Chicago paramedic who was treating him after a crash in late November. Reports from the incident indicate the attack was sudden and unprovoked. And this past May, a Long Island (N.Y.) EMT was shot by a heavily armed man who the provider was helping following a wreck. Violence is potential on the job; that’s a given, but few are doing enough to prepare paramedics and EMTs to work in the field.“From the time somebody walks in the door of a basic EMT school, we treat safety like it’s someplace between a non-issue and a joke,” says Skip Kirkwood, MS, JD, EMT-P, EFO, CMO, chief of the Wake County (N.C.) EMS Division and president of the National EMS Management Association. “We now have a culture of denial. We pretend we’re not going to get hurt and we’re shocked when we do,” says Kirkwood. “We train for the best and hope nothing happens,” Kirkwood says.That kind of thinking leads to some taking safety for granted. For example, some EMS providers carry body armor but only put it on if the call is for a shooting victim, which leaves them unprotected if a routine call suddenly turns violent.Kirkwood says personnel in the field need training now to be more aware of how quickly a simple scene can go bad. “My personal effort is to raise awareness,” says Kirkwood. “If we all keep pushing it, somebody’s going to walk up and say we need more training for paramedics than running them through 1,000-hour puppy mills to get them past the National Registry.”Kirkwood and Taigman suggest some immediate changes to what’s now considered routine with EMS workers. They suggest putting away the multi-colored handled scissors and pocket knives many carry because those tools can and have become weapons in incidents against EMS providers. They also say EMTs and paramedics should become proficient in communication skills necessary for defusing situations, rather than escalating them. Further, they claim EMS officials should reach out to local law enforcement and set up some defense and awareness training.“EMTs and paramedics should spend some time on a regular basis rehearsing in their minds, “˜if this happens, what am I going to do?’” Taigman says. “What am I going to do if I’m caring for a patient and they reach for a knife? Or if I’m restraining a patient and they’re trying to bite me, what am I going to do? Or if I’ve got a partner who is using profanity, adding sarcasm and adding anger, and adding adrenaline to an adrenaline-filled situation, what am I going to do to stop my partner from doing stupid things?”Taigman says, “Nobody is going to take care of your safety for you. You’ve got to take care of your safety yourself.” –Richard Huff, NREMT-BPro BonoResponding in Personal VehiclesOne of the biggest contributors to EMS legal liability is vehicle operations. Crashes involving emergency vehicles are too common. However, the risks are even greater when EMS personnel respond to emergencies in their personally operated vehicles (POVs). This is common in volunteer agencies and in EMS systems that use on-call personnel. Sometimes these responses are to the station; other times, they’re directly to the incident scene. Either way, the risks of a crash–and the risks of costly legal liability–are multiplied as the number of responding vehicles increases. This liability may fall on the individual vehicle operator as well as the EMS agency with which they’re affiliated. The individual’s personal auto insurance will likely also be affected, as this may be the primary source of coverage in POV response accidents.Note that most states do not treat personal vehicles as “emergency vehicles” and do not grant them any special privileges under the law. This is usually true even if the personal vehicle is using emergency lights. Of states that even permit emergency lights on personal vehicles, many treat these merely as “courtesy lights” and don’t obligate other motorists to yield the right-of-way or permit the responder to illegally pass another vehicle. Be sure to check your own state law.EMS agencies that allow personnel to respond in their POVs should consider taking several steps to minimize or reduce the agency’s liability. First, agencies can, of course, elect to prohibit the practice of personnel responding directly to the scene. Not only does the act of responding pose risks, but the presence of multiple personal vehicles on an incident scene can also be hazardous. Alternatively, agencies can limit direct responses to the scene in personal vehicles unless the incident location happens to be in a direct path to the station and/or unless extenuating circumstances exist based on the nature of the call. If your agency permits direct scene responses in personal vehicles, consider adopting an operating policy regarding the parking, staging or placement of POVs on an incident scene. Of course, no personal vehicles should impede the response of emergency vehicles or be placed in a location that could delay patient access or transport. Another step that EMS agencies should take is to adopt a clear and strict company policy requiring any personnel responding in POVs, whether to a scene or to the station, to fully and completely obey all motor vehicle laws, posted speed limits, stop signs, traffic signals and other traffic control devices. This should expressly include requirements that the responder come to a complete stop at all stop signs and red lights, observe the proper direction of travel on one-way streets and other specific requirements.EMS agency policies can also require that individual responders complete emergency vehicle operator’s training to engage in POV responses. The policy can also require that responders carry personal automobile liability insurance, with appropriate liability limits (that the agency can–and probably should–set above state minimums) before being permitted to respond to any calls in a POV.EMS agencies might incur liability from the acts of their personnel when responding in their personal vehicles, so having appropriate policies, training and insurance in place can help to better manage these risks. Civil Unrest Take a look around the world, the country or maybe your city park: Civil unrest is no rarity these days. Law enforcement has traditionally been the agency dealing with crowds of people who are out of control.However, EMS and fire personnel also need to know to prepare for and respond to unruly, if not violent, crowds. The Firefighters Support Foundation provides a free course, “Fire/EMS Response to Civil Unrest” that includes a downloadable video and PowerPoint presentation. FireEngineering.com hosts the program on their website at www.fireengineering.com/training/ffsupport.html.Some of the topics covered are types of events, coordination with other agencies and law enforcement, approach strategies, the potential for violence, lessons learned from previous events and why no jurisdiction is too small.The course was developed and is delivered by August Vernon, operations officer with the Forsyth County (N.C.) Office of Emergency Management. Vernon says the potential for trouble exists “any time you get large numbers of people together.” He adds, “All communities, large and small, need to be prepared as we enter the hotly contested political season.”Vernon teaches courses in incident management, mass violence, emergency management and terrorism/weapons of mass destruction planning-response. He also spent a year conducting route clearance and long-range convoy security operations in Iraq.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorePhoto by Lauren WilhelmChristmas came early for the children living in these low-income neighborhoods and housing complexes.That’s because a former resident of the area returned to the streets where he grew up so he could hand out more than $12,000 worth of toys to the local children earlier this week.Adam Armstrong grew up poor in a mostly government-subsidized apartment complex in Harrisonburg, Virginia. When he was just 18 years old, he was sent to jail to serve a 3-month sentence for marijuana possession. By the time he was released, he knew that it was time to turn his life around. Armstrong, who is now the father of a 3-year-old girl, ended up moving to Baltimore and working a string of different jobs until he finally got into the mortgaging business.RELATED: After ‘Mountain Santa’ Dad Spent 42 Years Giving Away Gifts to Poor Families, His Son Decides to Do the SameAs Armstrong became more and more financially comfortable, he felt more and more compelled to give back to people living in poverty—so he began donating heaps of toys to local charities every holiday season.This week, the 35-year-old philanthropist drove to his former neighborhood in a 26-foot moving truck packed with 1,327 toys to give away to all of the children.Sara Lewis-Weeks, the property manager of the complex, says that when Armstrong had approached her about the giveaway last week, she had been wary of his intentions.Photo by Lauren Wilhelm“He comes [into my office] and says, ‘What are you doing on Saturday? I’d like to give away a lot of toys’ and I’m like, ‘Yeaaah, I don’t know about that,’” Lewis-Weeks recounted to NBC News. “I’m very skeptical at that point.”To her astonishment, however, Armstrong made good on his promise.“It wasn’t like stuffed animals—he was giving away bikes, remote-controlled cars, real Barbie dolls—not Dollar Store Barbie dolls,” says Weeks. “He didn’t miss anybody. His heart was truly in this.CHECK OUT: Dying 86-Year-old Bought 14 Years Worth of Christmas Gifts for His 2-Year-old Neighbor“They thought it was going to be a couple of stuffed animals, not, ‘And you get a bike, and you get a bike, and you get a bike,’—like an ‘Oprah’ for little kids,” she added.Armstrong simply told The Washington Post that he was happy to bring joy to little kids for the holiday season.“The kids were so innocent and sweet,” Armstrong told the news outlet. “You can’t put a price on looking at these kids’ happy faces. Some of them have nothing, and to be able to give them a small toy … the reward and the pleasure was mine.”(WATCH the news coverage below)Be Sure And Share The Sweet Story Of Holiday Cheer With Your Friends On Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
ANTHONY Nunes swept five of yesterday’s last seven races, including the three feature events, extending his lead to $13.7 million ahead of 18-time defending champion, Wayne DaCosta.Canada-based Dane Nelson, who himself bagged five winners on his first race meet back home, opening the 11-race card with MSMYRTLERICHIEGIRL, proved to be the leading trainer’s magic charm, handing him his first win, ROYAL APPROACH, via the stewards’ room, after 9-1 outsider EROY’s disqualification in the second event.DaCosta, whose bid for a three-timer on the 11-race card was derailed by American-bred UNCLE POLLY’s flop in the event awarded to ROYAL APPROACH, predictably landed the third and sixth races with KING ARTHUR and BIG BLACK NATION, respectively, but had no answer to Nunes’ four-race flurry – LATAPY, PRINCE CHARLES, PRINCESS AVA and LEGALITY.Apprentice Reyan Lewis helped himself to a three-timer, starting with BELTANE in the fourth, before booting home the first two of Nunes’ four consecutive winners, LATAPY and PRINCE CHARLES, in the seventh and eighth events, respectively.Nelson, who had his second win astride CLASSY VISHALA in the fifth, topped off five-timers for himself and Nunes with stirring stretch finishes aboard PRINCESS AVA and LEGALITY in the ninth and 10th races, respectively.Nunes’ five wins added $2.6m worth of breathing room to his $11.1m lead ahead of DaCosta, who is set to unleash his fury in this afternoon’s Diamond Mile in which he has the country’s two best horses, STRANGER DANGER and SHE’S A MANEATER, aiming at approximately $10m in stakes.Nunes, who is aiming to win his first trainers’ title, suffered a Diamond Mile blow with the recent death of three-time runner-up, BIGDADDYKOOL. His main runner in the event is Superstakes runner-up, TOONA CILIATA. [email protected]