What a Medic Wants


Here is a list I made of how paramedics would like people’s help and cooperation.

My rational may be injected with sarcasm…. sorry but I can’t help it! 😉

1. Get out of the way! Please.

If you are driving and you hear sirens or see lights approaching…pull to the right. Lights/sirens means we would like to pass you because someone may be in trouble. Maybe even someone you know. Don’t go to the left, don’t stop in an intersection, definitely do not go swervy swervy all over the road. Just slow down and politely pull to the right. You have no idea how many people I’ve seen screw this up.


2. Help us find you.

Turn on your porch lights. Make sure your house number is well lit and in a high-visibility location. Please don’t paint your house number the same color as your house. If you can, send someone to the road to flag us in. (But don’t stand behind us when we are backing up.) Give precise directions to the 911 dispatcher and don’t hang up on them. Try to know where you are. I know, it’s hard.


3. Help us get in.

Clear your steps of snow/ice/debris. Clear your halls of hoarding. This will help us do our job safely and decrease extrication time. Climbing over piles of stuff with our stretcher is simply not ideal for your rescue (not to mention your mental health). Just sayin’.


4. Know thyself.

Some ambulance services send out refrigerator cards to be filled in with your health information. If you have one, fill it in; put it on your fridge. If not, have a medication list somewhere obvious that includes your health card number, medical conditions and allergies. It really helps with our detective work, especially if you are unconscious. If you are conscious- having some knowledge about your medical history/conditions is very helpful too.,,,aka- which body parts you have had surgery on, medications that could kill you, etc. Again, I know, it’s hard.

By the way, here’s where you can print a free one!……http://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/article/412603

5. Help your neighbors.

Take a First Aid/CPR class. This will increase the chances of a casualty’s survival when paramedics arrive. It only takes 5 minutes without oxygen before the brain begins to die. Plus, as a layman, helping a friend or family member is incredibly rewarding (unless you do not like said family member then disregard 😉 ). To take a class I recommend Lifesaver 101 if you are in the Sudbury/Toronto Ontario region (their teaching methodology is awesome, I should know- I taught there 😉 ).


Check out their facebook site…https://www.facebook.com/Lifesaver101Sudbury

6. Plan ahead.

If appropriate, work with your family/doctor to implement end of life documents. It may be in the form of a DNR, Health Care Directives, POST form, etc. It lets us know what you would like us to do in the event that your heart stops. Paramedics legally need to visualize these forms, so let someone close to you know where they are. Don’t forget to sign your organ donor card. 🙂 http://www.cantransplant.ca/

7. Get a Lifeline.

If you have serious health complications (especially if you live alone), consider getting a Lifeline or equivalent. That way if you cannot get to a phone, you can push the button (usually around your neck or wrist) and your alarm company will automatically dispatch the ambulance for you. If you accidentally push it- please call your alarm company to cancel us otherwise we ARE coming to get you.


Here is Lifeline’s website for more info….http://www.lifeline.ca/content/english/

8. Put your pets away.

Animals often get very protective of their human families if they sense they are in distress or in danger. Dogs often don’t like strangers (aka- paramedics) touching their human owners (especially owner’s babies). Please put your pets in another room so we don’t get bit or jumped on. It will also prevent them from escaping as we try to help you. Also, feed them before we get there- it’s really not part of my job.


9. Lying is bad.

Lying to medics only hurts you (and will prolong your hospital wait-time ten fold!). Besides, it’s likely not our first rodeo so just fess up. We aren’t the cops and we’ve probably heard a lot worse (or not and you will provide us with excellent entertainment for the evening! Thanks!) Don’t forget, we are the ones who talk to the Docs first. 😀


10. Be kind.

If I just dragged myself out of bed for you at 3am the least you can do is not swear, spit, bite, scratch, hit, scream, or lash out at me. We are just trying to help. If you can’t say anything nice- then shut the h*ll up and point us towards your info on the fridge!  😀

Thanks folks and stay safe out there!




3 thoughts on “What a Medic Wants

  1. Great blog, Vanessa. Just to add to your comment #2. I was recently on a fire call for a medical assist in a Water Access Only area. The property owner had some sort of an app on his iphone that made his screen flash red green and blue. In the middle of the night, it was super visible. I will try and find the name of it, but would highly reccomend it to everybody.

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