We were paged to standby for a possiable drug OD one night last week. I was suppose to be a domestic disturbance so we stood by at are station for law enforcement to arrive first. (The house was two doors away from our fire department.) Upon there arrivel they had us disreguard. I did the report and our fax said a person was combative on that scene.

Ok now to the part I am asking about. Two days later we were paged for that same house. It was paged as a difficulty breathing. Knowing what happened two days before I ask for law enforcement to respond also. Upon our arrivel I started patient care law enforcement came over my radio and ask if they really need to respond. The patients heart rate jumped quickly I do believe it was a fight or flight responce kicking in. So I quickly said negitive to relieve a possiable fight. In my mind I was tore at that decision.

After the patient was loaded in the ambulance another member of the household informed me that they thought it was going to be a repeat of the night two days before we had even arrived.

I called the law enforcement officer and ask if they would please stop calling us on the radio while we were doing patient care and putting us in a bad situation.(not the first time this has happend) He stated there sops say they do not have to respond to medical calls and if we need them I should reconfirm the call for them and we didn't get in a fight did we so he wasn't needed anyway. Well it turned real unproductive after that. Boy can they circle talk.

I did not join my fire department to fight with people if I wanted that I would have tried to become a reserve deputy. Also it may take LEOs up to 45 minutes to arrive or they may not even have anyone to respond. On structure fire a few days ago in a neighboring area they called for LEOs for a combative homeowner. They said they had no county LEOs available. So that fire department called the state police.

 

Was asking for law enforcement a bad call?

Should I not judge the call on previous calls even if it was just a day or two before?

Is this the norm for all areas? Is this why there is friction between LEOs and firefighters?

 

The Asst chief was right there and just blew it off. He knew why I was upset but refused to say anything one way or another.

I truly feel this will get someone killed of injured and think higher ups need to take action to work this out before this happens but doubt they will.

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Was asking for law enforcement a bad call?
Should I not judge the call on previous calls even if it was just a day or two before?
Is this the norm for all areas? Is this why there is friction between LEOs and firefighters?


There is one thing if you have a known patient history where there are issues, but IMO, asking for LE on a difficulty breathing wasn't necessary. It really doesn't matter what happened two days ago, the nature of the calls are different and just because there was an OD call recently, doesn't mean it is the same person either. If you got on scene and there was something else at hand, then request LE, but no need to call before just because of a recent event.


I will say I have been on some scenes where LE was needed, and we sent someone out to get such and such from the rig, so they could call for LE. We also have an emergency button we can activate which notifies dispatch and the mike is open, so dispatch can hear what is going on and can send resources. If a scene gets violent, leave and wait for LE, but don't prejudge just because of a previous call.

We have a good relationship with our LE, but we also have seperate radio frequencies, we can talk directly with LE, but we go through the fire dispatch, they go through police. If either of us needs the other, we are sent by the dispatch with something as simple as PD requesting rescue at address.
Every scene is different. I have had times when it was dispatched as DV and LEO were on scene before we went in. Thats how its suppose to work. However on my most recent DV it came in as diff brathing. We rolled up like normal. Once I started patient care I knew something was up but played it cool. The family was all very tense and the perp was still there. I choose to load and go and contact LEO after I was clear as to avoid any problems. Nobody can say for sure if you should or shouldnt. You were the one there and follow your gut but, you also have to consider you and your crews safety. So I think it was good that you were considering the length of time that it may have taken to get LE on scene. But based off what you said it doesnt sound like LE was needed.
I fully agree they were not needed at this one call. But are we not taught to error on the side of caution? Our higher ups decided we did not need a emergency buttons and had them disabled. They also took law enforcement off our radios so we have to relay though central dispatch and that to a long responce time and we will be dead and cold before they arrive. I believe thats why are captain brings his POV to scenes as he carries a gun in it. I might want to add it is well known for being used as a drug house. They were slaming doors to other rooms as we entered.
I guess I'm lucky, we seem to have a great relationship with our deputies and highway patrol. At least one goes on most of our medicals, though not all by any means. Any time the call relates to violence, drugs, suicide, etc. they go in first and clear the scene for us. Sometimes (since we're all volunteer and often coming from home), they beat us to the scene anyways, even for non-violent calls, and initiate patient care.

But, in my opinion, I'd err on the side of caution. No reason you should get caught in the middle of something bad because you ignored your gut and didn't call for help. I'm not prepared to deal with it, whereas LE has the training and the tools. I guess it helps I know a number of our deputies and have worked with them before. They've always been great on scene, not getting in the way, but still offering to help (hold IVs, talk to the family, get extra equipment), and keeping us safe. If they're not needed, they might just leave after checking in with us.

As for how to avoid the patient knowing, we'll have the person(s) treating the patient turn their radios off or have them on only one channel, while an officer, the IC, or another firefighter stands farther away or outside to handle things like getting officers, or transmitting more sensitive-type radio traffic.

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