Week 2: Going, Going, Gone

Sofia R -

Hi everyone!

This week was very interesting. During my first ride along, we got 6 calls. I got to see a wide variety of patients from lift assists without need for medical assistance to calls where the patients had a concerningly low oxygen saturation level. As well as medical calls, I got to go on my first Hazmat call. Hazmat is an abbreviation of hazardous materials, and certain firefighters get special training on how to deal with these situations. In this case, the station that I was at is where they keep all the hazmat equipment and most trained personnel. Our crew got called out to check on a house that had alarms going off from high levels of carbon monoxide. When we got there, the crew told me to stay in the engine, and the hazmat technician wore his full fire gear. He took special monitors that measures four gases in the air and walked through the house. His monitors did not show any signs of dangerous gases so the homeowner got a sense of peace.

My next ride-along was anything but busy. All the energy from the previous ride was gone, and we only had one call. Considering that I was at the busiest station in town, the crew said I had rider’s curse, where my presence was warding off any calls for me to see. That day I only had one call a few minutes after I arrived at the station to start my day. To my surprise, it was another hazmat call, and guess what? It was to the same home I had previously been to for the carbon monoxide alarms. We were not the first engine to be there because CAFMA called us in as backup. As we were driving, they informed us over the radio that they needed to use our monitors and asked if we had them, so when we got there we gave it to them. Afterwards, we found out there was a huge gas leak under the house. For the rest of the day, dispatch was silent for our station and we spent the day studying the drugs that Prescott paramedics carry as well as memorizing different heart rhythms and how to treat them.

This upcoming week I hope to see more calls and get a better variety of cases to learn from.


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    Wow... How did they find out they had a gas leak under the house?
    What is CAFMA? What are some of the drugs paramedics carry with them? Very Interesting!!
    Lena, there are special meters used to detect certain gases. In this case, the battalion chief called a gas company to check out the house and they found the leak!
    Yajaira, CAFMA is Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority, they jointly work with Prescott Fire and are stationed in PV and Chino Valley! Each engine has a drug box that medics have access to, from narcotics to glucose for hypoglycemic patients.
    Toby Chang
    Sounds like a meaningful, even if uneventful week - can you explain the different heart rhythms a little more? How does it impact treatment?

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