Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics
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OH&S Quest 3 - Firefighter - Firefighting Hazards

OH&S Quest 3 - Firefighter - Firefighting Hazards | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
We thank the Edmonton Fire-fighters’ Union for their interest and generous support of the development of this chapter. The “Edmonton Sun” and the “Edm...
Mia McGeough's insight:

This webpage provides extensive information about hazards firefighters might encounter. It provides information about physical, thermal, chemical and psychological hazards. It describes common hazards and risks under these headings and sometimes provides suggestions for minimisation of risks or management of the hazard. It also details information about health risks for firefighters, injuries, ergonomics, fitness and personal protection. It provides a good foundation for Brett in understanding what hazards he is likely to encounter. Although the webpage does not provide specific management strategies for all hazards it details, it provides a basis for Brett to further investigate the way his fire department manages those hazards and minimises the associated risks. This webpage can provide Brett with information regarding the health and fitness requirements of firefighters in order to reduce the risk of injury to himself and his colleagues and can educate him about the expectations he should have when facing emergency situations.

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OH&S Quest 3 - Firefighter - Effects of heat - precautions for firefighters (document).

OH&S Quest 3 - Firefighter - Effects of heat - precautions for firefighters (document). | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
North West Orange Rural Fire Brigade website, NSW Australia
Mia McGeough's insight:

This document provides specific information for firefighters about the effects of heat and the prevention of heat stress. The document begins by providing information about what problems a firefighter might encounter when working in environments of extreme heat and how/why. This assists in increasing awareness and understanding of how heat can affect the body. The document continues by outlining particular ways that heat stress can be avoided or the risk can be minimised. It suggests that firefighters observe particular behaviours, such as drinking plenty of water, wearing PPE and looking out for their colleagues. The document goes on to recommend what a firefighter can do if they are feeling ill, what symptoms to look out for and first aid recommendations for treating someone who has heat stress. This document can assist Brett in managing himself when encountering heat and extremely hot conditions and the associated risks.

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OH&S Quest 3 - Firefighter - Foundations of Queensland Fire and Rescue Service

Mia McGeough's insight:

This document provides extensive information regarding the Occupational Health and Safety responsibility of both Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) and its employees. It discusses its range of risk management strategies that focus on workplace safety and aim to uphold the QFRS mission of “Zero Harm – all injuries are preventable”. This document includes some of the ways that risks faced by firefighters are controlled. QFRS identifies risks, assesses them and then controls them to “as low as reasonably practicable”. The document addresses some ways physical risks are controlled, including training, equipment, PPE and experience. However, it also includes information regarding the attitude of the firefighter and how this can reduce risks. It also provides information about established programs available to QFRS employees such as the Wellness Program, which ensures the fitness and health of employees to reduce the risk of physical injury and FireCare, which provides staff counselling and support to ensure the mental and emotional wellbeing of employees. This document details information about QFRS Readiness, which provides information about being prepared for an emergency and its potential risks before it occurs. This document also features information about QFRS providing relevant training to employees and ensuring that competencies are met to control risks and ensure a safe work environment.

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OH&S Quest 2

OH&S Quest 2 | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it

This is Damien. Damien was a Cavalryman in the Australian Army. Here he is pictured on deployment in the desert.

Mia McGeough's insight:

Being a member of the Army presents very specific and unique hazards. Whilst on deployment, perhaps the most frightening is the very real risk of being injured by the enemy. Almost daily Damien faced the prospect of being shot by an enemy rifle or being blown up by an improvised explosive device or rocket propelled grenade. There is also the risk of chemical/biological weapons being used against personnel as well as the chemical and biological risks of drinking contaminated water, having reduced hygiene (not being able to shower for days or weeks at a time) and patrolling/camping near contaminated water and terrain. Living in such an environment of constant vigilance and fear, for any length of time, can pose serious hazards to mental and emotional wellbeing including elevated levels of anxiety, homesickness, mental stress and fatigue. It can also have long lasting effects presenting in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The severe weather conditions of the desert can also contribute to stress and fatigue in the forms of dehydration, heat stress/exhaustion and little or broken sleep due to rotating pickets and watches. Sunburn is also a risk of hot weather conditions. Although the desert is hot during the day, it can reach below freezing temperatures at night, posing risks of hypothermia and frost bite. The desert often has dust/sand storms resulting in Damien only being able to see a few meters in front of him. This increases the chances of having a vehicle accident when in a convoy. Being on a military deployment presents risks when working with live ammunition. Friendly fire, although uncommon is not unheard of. Damien also needed to be aware of where his own weapon was pointing to ensure the safety of those in his troop. If Damien’s weapon was fired for some time, in the hot weather conditions, the barrel can quickly become so hot that it can fire off a round, even if the shooter has not pulled the trigger. If the weapon becomes that hot, Damien also needs to be wary of the risk of burns. Falls, slips and trips are also concerns when on deployment. Patrolling in foreign, uneven terrain and getting on and off vehicles all the time can increase the risk of falls and thus injuries sustained. Musculoskeletal injuries, sprains and strains are also risks as cavalrymen can work with heavy machinery, weaponry and equipment, such as large caliber guns/rifles and carry heavy packs.

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OH&S Quest 2

OH&S Quest 2 | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it

This is Josh. Josh likes to go snowboarding in his spare time. Josh travels to the snow where he straps on his snowboard and takes to the slopes.

Mia McGeough's insight:

There are several risks and hazards Josh must be aware of before tackling the snowy slopes. Josh must make sure he’s wearing the right gear to ensure he minimizes his exposure to the severe weather conditions. Frost bite and hypothermia are potential conditions Josh might experience if he doesn’t dress appropriately. Sunburn is a risk people don’t often associate with the snow, however the UV rays can reflect off the snow and so it is important to wear sun protection whilst snowboarding. Dehydration is another risk of snowboarding. Due to the cold weather, it is easy to forget to rehydrate, which is important given the physical nature and exertion required of snowboarding. Josh must also make sure he is snowboarding in the right area of the slopes, under the watchful eye of staff, to ensure he is not endangering himself or others. Injuries are a big risk associated with snowboarding including broken bones, dislocated joints and musculoskeletal sprains and strains. Some of the most common injuries of snowboarding include knee ligament injuries, snowboarder’s ankle (fracture of the lateral aspect of the talus bone), wrist fractures and head and spinal injuries. Some common hazards of snowboarding also include:

-          Poorly adjusted bindings (these are what strap the wearer’s boots to the board) can significantly increase the risk of leg injuries.

-          Rented equipment increases risk of injury due to the gear not being properly or well-adjusted to the individual

-          Lack of formal snowboarding lessons can increase the likelihood of a person injuring themselves

-          Snowboarders lacking skill and/or experience have an increased risk of injury than more experienced snowboarders. (It is difficult to determine whether the increased risk is due to a lack of skill or experience).

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Design Ideas For Hospital Ambulance Bays - Healthcare Design

Design Ideas For Hospital Ambulance Bays - Healthcare Design | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
Pontefract and Castleford Express Design Ideas For Hospital Ambulance Bays Healthcare Design Ambulance bays connect EMS personnel and their patients to the triage area of a hospital and should be fast, safe, and efficient at getting everyone in,...

Via Paige Moodie
Mia McGeough's insight:

I think this is a very clever idea! It addresses something that is often overlooked as a hazardous environment. In my limited experience of hospital ambulance bays, I have always noticed something that I believe needs improving. And every hospital ambulance bay I have seen is different. It would be hugely beneficial to see some consistency across all state hospitals (obviously this isn't realistic and cannot occur everywhere because of various circumstances - but I can dream). I experienced a hospital ambulance bay having 3 ambulances, all of which need to be mopped out but only one mop and bucket was available. This holds up ambulances and increases response times. All of which could be avoided by implementing this new design! It is interesting to discover that one seemingly small issue can have a roll on effect that can impact upon the efficient delivery of emergency healthcare. The article mentions that the updated version of hospital ambulance bays also increases patient and paramedic safety by reducing the amount of obstacles. It also reiterates the notion that they are  “intermediate patient care areas” and should be treated as such, not as rubbish or storage areas.

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Paige Moodie's curator insight, March 8, 2014 2:50 AM

This is certainly a good read, as most of the time we rely on receiving hospitals to make our ambulance bays safe and efficient to transport patients inside. The statement "don't make them too versatile"is a good point, as this could then encourage others to use this area as storage space for in-hospital and cleaning equipment, which is something I have noted is becoming an increasing trend. Safety for staff, patients and the public is always important, so it will be great to see this design put to use.

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Paramedic Rick Murray, EMS Director for ACEP Talks EMS Safety

Recently in Arlington, VA. Carissa Caramanis O'Brien from BaselineVitals.com attended the EMS Culture of Safety conference. MedicCast was invited in by...
Mia McGeough's insight:

A notable point made by Rick Murray was about changing the safety culture within EMS. He stated that he himself was guilty of thinking that just because an unsafe practice didn't result in a negative/unsafe outcome, does NOT mean it becomes a safe practice. He implied that generally speaking EMS is guilty of believing that if they "did it once before and got away with it, the same should happen again".

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Paramedics : OSH

Paramedics : OSH | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
What does a paramedic do? What are some health and safety issues for paramedics? What are some preventive measures for a paramedic?

Via Skye Krobath
Mia McGeough's insight:

What an interesting read! This article provides brief dot points on what paramedics experience with regards to heatlh and safety issues, hazards and risks and also provides some preventative measures paramedics can take to avoid such things. Notably, assault by patients/bystanders is not on the list. However, included in the preventative measures section is a link to more information about working alone and working alone with patients. Working alone and alone with patients does present unique hazards and challenges and it is here the author mentions violence as being a risk. Significantly, the article also lists extreme psychological stress and trauma as health and safety issues and suggests paramedics learn about stress and post traumatic stress and consider debriefing sessions and counselling after attending critical/traumatic events. There are others listed as well, including exposure to contagious diseases, awkward postures, repetition, force/over-exertion, extreme temperatures, slips, trips and falls. All of which preventative measures are provided.

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Skye Krobath's curator insight, March 6, 2014 3:44 AM

Here are some occupational health and safety issues that paramedics face everyday. Some may not seem big to everyone however if they were to occur they can cause serious dilemma for the service.  Its OHS that keeps us safe, and it only works if you are aware of your surroundings. If this wasn't enforced how may work related accidents would occur?

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Behind the Mask: Paramedic Occupational Traumatic Stress

The Story of Paramedics' Jack and Kate and their shared experience of occupational traumatic stress!
Mia McGeough's insight:

This is an incredible insight into one of the worst hazards faced by paramedics and yet, often one of the least recognised and talked about. Post traumatic stress or as they term it in the clip, occupational trauma, is something every paramedic will face or experience at some point in their careers. This youtube clip is enlightening and by sharing a personal experience it delivers a message of breaking the bravado associated with being a paramedic. In doing so, the stigma that experiencing some form of post traumatic stress is weak and lowers paramedic's sense of professional self-worth, can be broken. This is something I feel very strongly about as it's often unrecognised or ignored and yet it can have such a massive impact on the paramedic, their family and friends and how they perform their job. Having spoken to several paramedics who have been in the job 10 years or longer, I discovered that the opportunities and services for support are A LOT better than they used to be. And yet, as seen in this clip, which is only 2 years old - post traumatic stress/occupational trauma/vicarious trauma are still being experienced by paramedics who feel they should just "suck it up". There are many names for the trauma experienced by paramedics but the result is essentially the same, it impacts on them and areas of their life. The extent of which varies with each individual, however the point is that paramedic's lives are impacted negatively and this cannot be ignored. At the end of this clip, the maker dedicates it to "fallen peers who as muzzled heroes, stoically sucked up the trauma". I'd like to see such a thing completely eradicated. I'd like to see occupatinal trauma as an accepted part of the job, that isn't taboo, with extensive opportunities and services for support. I'd like to see the stigma change from paramedics accessing support services because they're weak to paramedics accessing support services so they might cope better, become wiser in their coping mechanisms and so able to perform their job to the best of their ability. 

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Paramedic conference teaches how to be ready at the right time - Sioux City Journal

Paramedic conference teaches how to be ready at the right time - Sioux City Journal | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it

Paramedic conference teaches how to be ready at the right time
Sioux City Journal
Understanding how to respond appropriately in the event of a volatile situation, Sudrla said, is key to keeping paramedics and patients safe"

Mia McGeough's insight:

"Emergency Medical Service is a dangerous profession". How true that statement is! Other articles mention assaults experienced by paramedics but this one states some others, such as manual handling of patients, exposure to contagious diseases carried by patients as well as vehicle collisions and handling hazardous materials (such as drugs). The skills, procedures and protocols required by paramedics to have/to follow are extensive and so a conference is a fantastic idea for paramedics and other health professionals to keep up to date with these things. Particularly as these are often superceded and updated and new skills/procedures are introduced. It would also offer an opportunity for paramedics to gain information about the direction and future of their profession.

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Ambulance paramedics 'punched, spat on' - Illawarra Mercury

Ambulance paramedics 'punched, spat on' - Illawarra Mercury | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
Ambulance paramedics 'punched, spat on'
Illawarra Mercury
NSW Ambulance has renewed calls for people not to use paramedics as punching bags after a series of assaults on ambulance crews.
Mia McGeough's insight:

This is a scary reality of being a paramedic. We are taught to assess any scene for Danger upon arrival and to reassess whenever we feel it necessary. As a student, when assessing a scene for danger I think of downed power lines, spilled/leaking fuel, viscious dogs or moving parts of a machine (and the list goes on) but rarely, if ever, do I consider that the patient or a bystander could be dangerous. I'm sure this is something I will quickly learn to do the more I work on road as a paramedic. It is appalling that paramedics are vulnerable to these kinds of attacks, that they're being targeted, assaulted and threatened is a major issue that needs addressing. Paramedics are there to help any injured or sick persons requiring medical assistance, not to become a patient themselves.

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OH&S Quest 3 - Firefighter - Queensland Fire and Rescue Service : Firefighting Equipment

OH&S Quest 3 - Firefighter - Queensland Fire and Rescue Service : Firefighting Equipment | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service website
Mia McGeough's insight:

This webpage outlines the equipment that firefighters of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service must wear when fighting fires. Each piece of PPE clothing is described, but there is no detail listed as to why each piece of clothing must be designed that way (for e.g. protection against burns etc). At the bottom of the page, however, is the breathing apparatus. The breathing apparatus protects firefighters against smoke inhalation and allows them to enter environments where smoke or poisonous gases are present. It provides approximately 45 minutes of air, although this time might be reduced by factors such as arduous work. This webpage would provide Brett with information about the equipment he is to use to minimise the risk of smoke inhalation or exposure to poisonous gases.

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OH&S Quest 3 - Firefighter - Preventing deaths and injuries to fire fighters using risk managemen principles at structure fires

Mia McGeough's insight:

This document outlines the responsibilities of firefighters and fire departments. It includes a report of research undertaken and whilst this element of the document is not entirely relevant the document does provide applicable information and makes recommendations of what firefighters and fire departments should do. The document states that firefighters should report the conditions and hazards encountered at the emergency, that safety is a shared responsibility and policies and procedures should be adhered to. It also states that being constantly aware of the surroundings will assist in minimising the risk of death and injury. The document suggests that fire departments should develop and enforce risk management plans, policies, procedures and guidelines for risk management as well as providing relevant and necessary training. Although this document provides information specific to structure fires, the fundamental principles it offers and the recommendations it makes can be applied to almost any duty of a firefighter. This document can assist Brett in managing OHS issues as it provides recommendations on things he can do to ensure the safety of himself and his colleagues.

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OH&S Quest 2

OH&S Quest 2 | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it

This is Brett. Brett is an auxiliary firefighter for QLD Fire Emergency Service, in his local community on the Darling Downs. An auxiliary firefighter is a paid part-time firefighter that attends structural and environmental fires, road traffic crashes, chemical spills and other rescue situations. However, auxiliary firefighters are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that Brett carries a pager with him when working his regular job throughout the week.

Mia McGeough's insight:

Firefighters face many hazards and risks when completing their work. Perhaps the most obvious is burns. However, burns can occur in many ways such as hot gases (breathing in hot air), contact with hot objects (like a door handle) and steam. Flammable gases/liquids and combustible objects can pose risks of explosions. Structural collapse of ignited buildings/structures present hazards as firefighters can fall through floors and/or become trapped by falling objects. Smoke is another hazard of firefighting as it can obscure a firefighter’s vision, resulting in disorientation and the firefighter becoming trapped. It can also result in falls, slips and trips if the firefighter cannot see very well. Smoke inhalation is another risk, particularly if the smoke is toxic. Firefighting presents risks in the forms of musculoskeletal injuries, sprains and strains due to the heavy equipment and personal protective equipment firefighters must wear. Some equipment can be hazards in themselves, for example the high-pressure hoses or being up ladders. Stress and fatigue are risks for firefighters as fighting fires can last hours, in some cases days and may also result in dehydration, heat stress and exhaustion. Fatigue is major risk in Brett’s situation due to him being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Brett works at his regular job throughout the day but might need to respond to an emergency call overnight, leaving him with little and broken sleep. The high speeds at which firefighters drive the fire truck to respond to emergency calls poses risks as it increases the likelihood of vehicle accidents. Psychological and emotional hazards are also present as firefighters often witness the loss of life and property and can experience vicarious trauma.

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OH&S Quest 2

OH&S Quest 2 | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it

This is Emma. She is pictured here rounding up some cattle on her horse.

Mia McGeough's insight:

The animals involved in this scenario pose a risk to Emma. The cattle and her horse present risks as they are unpredictable. Emma might suffer a fall from her horse or it might become spooked and throw her off. However, mustering on a horse carries less risk than riding a motorbike as cattle are less likely to charge the worker, which would likely have resulted in the worker falling off the motorbike. Noisy environments can increase the stress of cattle, making them harder to handle and can also affect the handling of the horse. They can also pose a hazard for Emma, increasing her risk of tinnitus and/or deafness and making it more difficult to concentrate. Vet medicines and pesticides present chemical hazards whilst the animals raise biological hazards as they could by carrying disease. The surface which Emma is working presents a hazard as the surface may be uneven, increasing the difficulty of handling her horse. It might also contain dust/dust particles that might pose a biological hazard, especially if Emma has a pre-existing respiratory condition such as asthma. Emma also needs to be aware of the weather conditions she is working in. Sunburn is a likely risk as is fatigue and stress which can result in dehydration, heat stress and exhaustion and so it is important that Emma wears sun protection and keeps hydrated. Emma needs to be aware of the cattle yards and handling facilities she’s working in to ensure smooth movement of the cattle, which creates a safer work environment.

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OH&S Quest 2

OH&S Quest 2 | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it

This is Jen. Jen loves to keep fit by taking part in Crossfit daily workouts at a local Crossfit box. Workouts of the day (WODs) vary daily and can involve a mixture of high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, running, rowing, skipping and gymnastics. Jen is pictured here in the middle of a lifting component of a WOD.

Mia McGeough's insight:

Crossfit, like any other sport brings with it particular risks and hazards. Perhaps the most obvious are general sports injuries such as strains, sprains and musculoskeletal injuries. However, given the high-intensity of the exercises associated with Crossfit more severe injury can occur. Crossfit is known to be hard on the body’s joints, in particular the lower back, knees, shoulders, elbows and wrists and can even result in joint dislocation. Like any sport Crossfit takes its toll on the body and consequentially, a general wear-and-tear of the body occurs. There is a risk of fatigue, as the sport encourages athletes to push themselves harder and harder to be the best they can be. It is not unheard of for Crossfitters to attend the box more than once a day to complete a WOD. Athletes need to be vigilant of rehydrating whilst and after completing WODs and ensuring they don’t overheat, so as to avoid dehydration and heat stress/exhaustion. Surprisingly, Crossfit involves manual handling hazards as it often comprises lifting heavy weights off the ground, in some instances above the lifter’s head. Fortunately, all Crossfit members are taught the safest way to lift heavy weight to minimise the risk of injury. However, like most sports, freak accidents do occur.  Although not unique to Crossfit, a risk closely associated with Crossfit is rhabdomyolysis. A potentially fatal condition, rhabdomyolysis can be caused by extreme exertion. It involves the skeletal muscle becoming damaged, which rapidly releases an excess of proteins into the blood, which damages the kidneys. Slips, trips and falls are risks when Crossfitting as confined areas, gym equipment and other Crossfitters pose hazards. Unclean, sweaty equipment can also result in the transference of germs and bacteria between people, which could result in the spread of sickness.

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Ambulance accidents and crashes Compilation

How (NOT) to Let an Ambulance Pass in Traffic. Drivers must stop for ambulances. If there's an ambulance in traffic with its lights and siren activated, you ...
Mia McGeough's insight:

This compiilation highlights the danger paramedics face every day, simply by being on the road. It emphasises the importance of paramedics being capable and adept at driving an ambulance at high speeds. However, it also brings to light the ignorance of other road users. I firmly believe that there should be more education of road users with regards to EMS vehicles. I feel that there is not enough education about how to respond and what to do when flashing lights and sirens are seen and heard. I also think that loud music in cars and cars becoming increasingly sound proof to the outside environment are factors in the challenges faced by paramedics on road.

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Should Paramedics Carry Tasers? EMS Safety! | A Paramedic's Blog

Should Paramedics Carry Tasers? EMS Safety! | A Paramedic's Blog | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it

"Every new batch of EMT’s and Paramedics I train on the streets will ask me at least once “What can I do to protect myself?”  Half of the time they will also spit out the now famous line “We should be allowed to carry Tasers!”  I don’t blame them either, this has been a thought that has gone though my mind hundreds of times on hundreds of calls where I would have felt better if I had been armed."

Mia McGeough's insight:

This personal blog provided me with a different opinion and perspective on the danger paramedics face. Yes, paramedics face danger and assault from patients/bystanders but I found this blog really put it into perspective for me. At least with regards to arming paramedics. I found myself agreeing with the author that paramedics should not be armed with tasers. There are better means of addressing this problem, such as self defense training and ballistic vests (both of which are mentioned). Paramedics' essential role is caring for injured/sick patients, by arming paramedics does that change the perception of paramedics by the public? The author reminds the reader of just how close paramedics work to their patients when treating them. Which introduces the new dangers associated with patients acquiring a paramedic's taser and using it against them and others. An interesting opinion and one I share. Arming paramedics is not the answer to ending violence and assaults against them.

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Paramedic safety in the spotlight

Paramedic safety in the spotlight | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
IN HIS 14 years as a paramedic, Matthew Eastham has seen several of his colleagues physical and verbally assaulted.

Via Nat Shepherd
Mia McGeough's insight:

This article refers to the verbal and physical assault and hinderances often experienced by paramedics. It states that although people intend to help, often they impede paramedics from performing their job in assisting injured/sick persons. Notably, the article mentions a proposition for tougher penalties for people who assault paramedics of up to 3 months in gaol or $13 000 fine. I wonder how effective this will be at deterring people. I do not believe that people under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not responsible or accountable for their actions. In fact I believe just the opposite that all people are accountable for their actions, regardless of whether they are under the influence or not. However, scenes where paramedics are required are often emotionally charged and people under the influence can be difficult to manage and sometimes may not be consciously aware of what is happening or what they are doing. Which is why I question how effective such penalties will be at deterring people from assaulting paramedics.

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Nat Shepherd's curator insight, March 10, 2014 3:01 AM

The need for paramedics to have greater protection from both physical and verbal abuse is obvious. Dealing with emotive situations as well as having to deal with intoxicated people is an environment wrought with peril. 

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Paramedics given power to send patients to GPs in NSW crackdown trial

Paramedics given power to send patients to GPs in NSW crackdown trial | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
Paramedics given power to send patients to GPs in NSW crackdown trial
Yahoo!7 News
The deputy commissioner says safety will not be compromised and people will receive the appropriate care.
Mia McGeough's insight:

Although I am not a qualified paramedic, my little experience on road and my speaking to qualified paramedics has revealed that this is a big annoyance to them. Trivial matters, such as the common flu or cold or in some cases that someone is "hungry" or "can't sleep" are points of frustration for many paramedics. They are seen as "time wasting". By granting paramedics the ability to refuse transport and refer patients to their GP would free a lot of the paramedics time. I believe it would shorten response times as paramedics can be caught up treating such trivial matters or completing the paperwork for them, when they are needed elsewhere. It would relieve the pressure experienced by the Ambulance Service in ensuring they have enough crews on station to handle the number of calls received. I truly believe that if used correctly, this power will benefit paramedics and their respective ambulance services immensely.

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SWAT prepares to add paramedics

SWAT prepares to add paramedics | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
SWAT prepares to add paramedics
The Salinas Californian
Salinas TacMed Agility Testing: Candidates trained in tactical medicine vie to become part of the SWAT team in Salinas, CA, which is integrating up to four paramedics.
Mia McGeough's insight:

An interesting article! It offered a completely different view of the future of emergency medicine (at least in the United States). Tactical emergency medicine brings with it entirely unique OHS issues and risks. Which is precisely why I believe it is such a great idea! Specially trained tactical emergency medical personnel would be able to provide specific medical assistance in very specific emergency situations. Incorporating paramedics into both police and fire departments would be hugely beneficial both to paramedics and the public. By having specific, relevant and very necessary training to handle such situations, paramedics could provide adequate care to patients in circumstances that require very specialist knowledge and training. Thus reducing the risk of injury to themselves and increasing the care provided to patients who might otherwise not recieve the care they need.

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Ambos warn that staff cuts are putting the public at risk - The Sunshine Coast Daily

Ambos warn that staff cuts are putting the public at risk - The Sunshine Coast Daily | Safety in an emergency - OHS for paramedics | Scoop.it
Ambos warn that staff cuts are putting the public at risk
The Sunshine Coast Daily
THE state's peak ambulance union has backed claims from paramedics that a shortfall in staff is delaying response times and putting the public at risk.
Mia McGeough's insight:

This is a worrying article, especially being so close to home! Staffing issues not only put the public at risk by potentially increasing response times, which in turn lengthens the period of time people are waiting for life saving interventions and treament, but presents an OHS issue for staff. Paramedics are requested to do overtime, simply to cover rosters, increasing their risk of fatigue. Fatigued paramedics are more likely to make mistakes and at times, those mistakes can cost lives. The potential mistakes of fatigued paramedics are endless. One exampe is driving. We are constantly being reminded not to drive tired, and that doing so causes accidents. It only takes a split second for a fatigued paramedic to make a mistake en route to a patient. Potentially resulting in a road traffic crash putting their own and their partners life at risk as well as risking the lives of other people involved and the patient's life as they are now unable to attend that patient. Paramedics face lots of OHS issues and hazards everyday, especially when treating and transporting patients. Utilising fatigued paramedics to cover shifts increases the likelihood that the OHS hazards faced by them, will become incidents.

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