02 September 2010

The Life Of An EMS Crew

It's 0242 hours and I've just dozed off in the recliner. The phone rings-
"Can you respond to a primary in +++ +++?"
(A primary is a flight where we fly directly to the accident scene.)

My crew is upstairs asleep.
The helicopter is in the hangar because we've had thunderstorms/low clouds/bad visibilities in the area.
"Hold on, I'll move to the other phone and check weather."
I put my dispatcher on hold and sit down in front of the weather computer. A quick check shows the T-storms have moved out of the area. Our local airport is reporting winds calm, 7 miles viz, sky clear, temperature 22, dew point 20, and all other area reporting stations are better than that. I grab the phone-
"We're in the hangar but yeah, we can do it."
"Then your flight is a go. It's a bad motor vehicle accident. I can't tell you anymore than that... things sounded chaotic when they called. How much time should I add to your response time?"
"Five minutes."
I hang up, then push the "intercom" button.
"We have a primary go in +++ +++ for a motor vehicle accident. Let's push her out."

I turn on the hangar lights and by the time I've pushed the rolling hangar doors open my crew is sleepily coming down the stairs. I start the tug and start slowly pushing the aircraft toward the pad, watching each of the 4-$40,000+ rotor blades to make sure I don't run them into anything.
The phone rings again...
Not a good sign when you've been told to "GO!"
(Stop the tug and put it in "Park". Walk to, and pick up the phone-)
"They want you on standby now. Both patients have coded."
(They're doing CPR on both patients at the scene.)

I return to the tug and finish pushing the aircraft to the pad.
We drop the helicopter off its ground-handling wheels and I back the tug and the helicopter moving equipment back into the hangar, then shut the hangar doors.
We're ready to go if needed.

Phone again...
"You're canceled. They've called 'em on the scene."
To the inquiring faces looking at me I say "D.R.T.", (Dead right there.)

Now we're all wide-awake at 0255 hours, and I'm forced to remember-
We're not paid for the actual "doing" of this job...
We're paid for knowing how to do it WHEN and IF we're called.

When I've pushed "Publish"on this Post I'll go back to the recliner.
My crew is already upstairs and horizontal, waiting for the phone to ring again.


cj said...


You guys are wonderful for doing such a difficult job...

And, I had never heard the express DRT until Michael Jackson death when a friend used it in response to my text about it.


Crown-n-coke said...

Thanks for the post G.B.. Makes you stop bitching about lifes little problems and think a little bit and thank the good Lord for the quiet days.