On my department a lot of our calls are medical calls and we've got 15-20 fireman that are medical trained for this reason and the ambulance will call use when they need assistance. But we get quite a few fireman that show up that are not trained at all, they might have cpr but thats it. Nobody seems to care about this that we've got untrained people trying to help out at medical calls. My question is, is this even legal and what would happen if it would ever go to court and what can be done to try to stop it. I just dont want a lawsuit and the other fireman are like it'll never happen, maybe I'm over reacting here I dont know.
May be a state issue. hopefully you have some sort of 'good samaritan' law that would protect any of your FFs from lawsuits. This law usually protects anyone from lawsuits who act in accordance to their training. Whether that be EMT-P or nothing. Back in the days, the only medical training we were required to have, by state law, was advanced first aid. That was it. That may still be the case. But I would check with your state fire marshal or whoever for the requirments in your state.
You need to bring these issues up at your next meeting, and even to the attn of your FD attorney. I would hope that the Good Samaritan Act will protect them in the event of a mishap, but it would never hurt to show them things that they can do safely that would be a great help to your trained fireman. They are obviously willing to help, why not ask if they are willing to learn..I'm guessing that answer may be yes.. Have some inside your fire dept training sessions. I know from my own experiences on the ambulance daily..I wouldn't know what to do without all our fireman..we love when they show up to help, and the ones that are not medically trained, always ask.."What can I do?"
If they have CPR, would they not also have basic first aid? Is this not better than no one showing up at all, especially if CPR is what's needed. We all know (or should know) that it's critical to get that heart perfusing blood as soon as possible.
Other than that, why are they not trained? It would likely take a couple of weeks to get the time to get them up to first responder level, but it's worth it and would take very little funds.
Also, I'm not sure what you were saying about the ambulance. "the ambulance will call use when they need assistance." I am assuming that means the Paramedics dispatch fire to help if they need more hands... the only time paramedics ask us to help them if we haven't been called is for a heavy lift, etc. If they are on scene and are calling for additional help, there should be no issues, even someone without a lot of training can be walked through a situation.
My suggestion here is, come up with a solution. If people need to respond to medicals and the people showing up are not trained, get them trained.
I agree with the poster as well, good samaritan laws exist almost everywhere now. Where I am, we're covered if we stop to help and we're off duty. You can't be sued for helping if you're operating within your training. Even without a lot of medical training, your firefighters should know basic things like c-spine or not yanking someone out of a car at an mvc, etc.
I hope you get this resolved and you can get some of the firefighters at least some basic training.
If it is very clear that you are not a fire/EMS department, then you are covered under Good Samaritan.
If anyone has had advanced first aid or first responder training, then you'd better check with your insurance company to see how much liability insurance you carry.
If this "fireman" that you refer to is "self-dispatching to these EMS calls, then you have a bigger problem than you thought.
We have firefighters who are also EMTs for a separate ambulance service. When we have an MVA, they have made their choice as soon as they hit the door.
If your department doesn't condone the conduct of this firefighter, then write an SOG that prohibits participation in a medical intervention.
I totally agree with the cpr and yes they've got basic first aid, but they'll show up to a stroke call and do nothing but stand there and do no good for the patient, I guess its just so they can talk on the radio, sometimes they'll even tell me what to do like their a medic or something, I guess I just need to vent on this one.
You hit the nail on the head with that Art, your totally right "If this "fireman" that you refer to is "self-dispatching to these EMS calls, then you have a bigger problem than you thought." and we;ve got more than one of them. It's like a power trip for them they want to show up but dont want to take the classes.
Yeah, it may not be as bad as it's sounding. Of course they should be getting out to training if they really think they're going to be able to help someone. Basic first aid, can get you through a lot of calls, you aren't going to be the only ones there, paramedics will show up. Our goal as firefighters is to make sure the situation doesn't get worse and try to make it better.
Don't worry too much about it. Are you newer or younger with the department. Is there payment for showing up to the calls. I've seen some guys just show up to collect, which is also not good.
If this is really a major concern in your department, I would bring it up to a senior officer and allow them to handle it.
In my department if there are fireman there we usually put them to work with help lifting. If we don't need them then we ask them to just step back. Typically they don't get in the way and they listen to what we direct them to do. They are never involved with doing anything that they are not trained for. This covers the issue of possible lawsuit. We thank them for showing up and helping if we need them. We have never really had a problem as of yet...
TJ, does your department also run the ambulance, or is that a separate organization? In our department, we provide the ambulance service and a few of us are also EMT-Bs. We have anywhere from 3 to 20 people show up on an EMS call. Almost all have CPR training.
We use the extras to assist with lifting and extrication from the house, making sure we don't leave equipment behind, and such. But we don't prevent them from coming to an EMS call nor would I want to.
On the other hand: If in your case the ambulance service is separate, that's a different subject completely and a potentially disastrous problem.