Stopping at Still Alarms with Patient On Board?

BobBarker

Forum Lieutenant
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Our employer's policy at still alarms is to stop and assist up to our full scope of practice (BLS/ALS and ALS if on a CCT car) after notifying dispatch. If we have a patient on board, we are only to stop briefly enough to see if other resources are needed and contact dispatch to have other units assist while we continue to our destination.
If someone has a life threatning injury i.e. severe bleeding, amputation, etc. and we have a non-emergency patient in the back, would you stop to assist while your partner in the back stay with your patient? Obviously things like freeway accidents is a little tricky because parking your rig with your patient in the back is endangering your partner and patient's life, but if I see an injury and it's safe to stop briefly, I am calling for help and helping myself, I am not letting someone with a life threatning injury sit in the street.
 

NPO

Forum Deputy Chief
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Follow your policy. If you have questions contact your supervisor.

My policy states that at the crew discretion we are allowed to stop until other units arrive.
 

CCCSD

Forum Asst. Chief
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Everything is covered by Policy and State Regulations. Try looking it up... especially if you are working. This is basic info 101.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Then you are a newbie.
That sounds like you're making inappropriate assumptions. it's more likely he's never been around the fire service. as per merriam-webster's dictionary: "a fire alarm transmitted (as by telephone call) without sounding the signal apparatus"

I will also say as a firefighter and fire dispatcher, it's a holdover from previous generations of fire dispatching, and not really applicable in today's world. However, it has been used to describe resources dispatched (telephone alarm = 1 unit to respond (engine or ladder), still alarm = 1 engine and 1 latter, box alarm 3 engines, 2 ladders, and a chief, or the source of a call), so if you work in an FD based system, you might pick up the nomenclature. It also is very location specific, so what you call a still alarm might be a box alarm in another city or your home town. My department doesn't use those terms; in fact, none of the departments I have ever been a part of have used those terms, but I did dispatch for one that did.

@BobBarker as others have said, follow your company's policy, and if you have any questions, ask your supervisor.

As for the general concept, the biggest thing to remember is to not abandon your patient. or any new patients you have. so once you stop, someone needs to stay with the patient in the back. and if you find another patient at the still alarm, then guess, what, you have another patient you shouldn't abandon. So if you stop, you are there until you transfer care to another provider.

So I would be very very cautious at stopping at a still alarm, finding a sick patient, radioing dispatch, and then leaving the person to die. I can see that not ending well for both you and your agency. It's also bad PR to have an ambulance drive past a scene with injured people.

It's ALWAYS crew discretion as to if they stop. If I have a sick and dying patient in my truck, 99% of the time, I am not stopping. I'll radio in to dispatch what I see, and let them send someone to investigate. If I have a stable patient, and it's safe for me to stop (that means I'm not stopping at an MVA on a 4 lane highway with traffic whizzing by at 80mph), I might stop and see what is happening and if someone needs assistance. I'm still going to advise dispatch, but I know I'm committed to that scene until someone else arrives.
 

akflightmedic

Forum Deputy Chief
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I been around the block a time or two and have even worked in Fire based EMS systems...never used the words "still alarm" ever, and until this thread popped up, I was not even sure what the exact definition was. I could context it out, but really had no clue as to actual definition.
 

CALEMT

The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
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Then you are a newbie.

Quick to jump the gun and make assumptions. Regional terms mean different things ex. west coast uses engines, east coast uses pumpers. I'm fairly sure being a west coast guy if I went to the east coast and said I need a tanker I wouldn't be getting a airplane.
 

E tank

Caution: Paralyzing Agent
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We call them "on view" events. I'd hear fire guys use that term but I thought it was something like direct radio dispatched as opposed to an actual ring down and response from the fire house...learn something new every day...
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
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It’s common on the West Coast and East Coast.
I know you have never once admitted that you were wrong about literally anything, but this what the term means in New England and some points south. We called coming across something “on-sighting,” that was common across PD, fire, and EMS.

"Rescue 2 from fyah alahm, respond to the still alahm at 123 Main St."
 

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Jim37F

Forum Deputy Chief
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Still Alarm is an official term in my Department, and is defined in our Policies and Procedures Manual as:

"Any alarm that is reported directly to a fire station or Department members".

Basically the normal situation is a 911 call goes through to dispatch, and then dispatch calls the Companies.

A Still Alarm is where either say someone knocks on your stations door (or flags down the apparatus) saying they have an emergency, or while out driving around the Company discovers an emergency situation before the dispatching process is completed. Basically the exact opposite of normal, a Still Alarm is where the Company in the field is the one calling Dispatch saying "Hey we're on scene of this".

(Alarm for us is generic any and all calls. Could be an Activated Fire Alarm or working structure fire or Rescue assignment or routine Shortness of Breath or Chest Pain or even Lift Assist call. All are Alarms).

Back when I worked ambulance in LA, we used the term Still Alarm to mean pretty much the exact same thing. Someone flagged us down or we drove up to an auto accident or whatever.

As far as being on the ambulance and stopping for a Still Alarm with a patient on board?

Well that was always officially up to the crews discretion. The unofficial guidance I always got was go ahead and stop and check it out if you had a stable BLS patient

Versus if you had an unstable ALS patient, basically slow down, maybe stop momentarily just to let anyone trying to flag you down that you already have a patient onboard that ypu can't stop woth but you're calling for help (thus never making an patient contact to create abandonment when continuing transport). Of course the important thing is to actually radio dispatch so they can send another unit (or if geographically outside your jurisdiction, they can call the dispatch of the appropriate agency).

The whole "Is my patient stable enough to stop and wait, or are they unstable enough im going to keep driving past this emergency without stopping" question is where crew discretion came into play.
 

CCCSD

Forum Asst. Chief
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I know you have never once admitted that you were wrong about literally anything, but this what the term means in New England and some points south. We called coming across something “on-sighting,” that was common across PD, fire, and EMS.
Gee. Read Jim’s post.

Just because you are ignorant about something doesn’t mean I’m incorrect. Might have to do with your limited EMS experience perhaps?
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
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Gee. Read Jim’s post.

Just because you are ignorant about something doesn’t mean I’m incorrect. Might have to do with your limited EMS experience perhaps?
Aw the ol' strawman argument. I did for several years work in New England where this term did not mean that, which is the whole point. In Colorado it has zero meaning as far as I can tell. Doesn't make us ignorant. What part is limited?
 

CALEMT

The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
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Gee. Read Jim’s post.

Just because you are ignorant about something doesn’t mean I’m incorrect. Might have to do with your limited EMS experience perhaps?

The old when in doubt attack the poster card is starting to get old. All this is for what again? A term that some regions, states, counties, departments may or may not use. Just a humble suggestion; lighten up.
 

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