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  1. #1
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    Default Staging for Police?

    I am working to develop a staging policy for my EMS agency and would love to hear what types of SOP's and SOG's other agencies have in place. My agency stages for potentially dangerous scenes, but we don't have a consensus as to what a "potentially dangerous scene" is. The biggest question I have is how other agencies handle 911 hang-ups, "man-down", and "unknown medical" type calls. Is it common for EMS to wait for police before entering these types of scenes? Any and all comments will be appreciated. Thanks!


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    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    911 hang ups shouldn't be an EMS issue......

    Unless there was some indication that there could be a danger, such as a domestic violence, assault, shooting etc, we did not stage and wait for police - especially since in many instances it could be a loooong time before one got to the scene.....

    If it was a suicidal person, stage and wait for PD also...basically anything which could indicate a danger to a responder(s).....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hewartson47 View Post
    I am working to develop a staging policy for my EMS agency and would love to hear what types of SOP's and SOG's other agencies have in place. My agency stages for potentially dangerous scenes, but we don't have a consensus as to what a "potentially dangerous scene" is. The biggest question I have is how other agencies handle 911 hang-ups, "man-down", and "unknown medical" type calls. Is it common for EMS to wait for police before entering these types of scenes? Any and all comments will be appreciated. Thanks!
    Like Pasobuff says, 911 hangups are not an EMS or Fire issue.

    I can't imagine staging for unknown medical or man-down calls, UNLESS there is a reason to believe there is a threat to the responders, such as a man down with another over him shooting!

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    As of right now, we do not stage for any of these calls. However, we have had an increasing number of "unknown" calls and hang-ups that were related to domestic and violent scenes. I would like to learn if any agencies handle them differently and what the results have been.

    To clarify, the hang-up calls we respond on are when the person asks for an ambulance and hangs up before any information is acquired.

    On a side note, do you guys actually get dispatched to "unknown medicals" with no further information? We get these calls on a daily basis, yet nobody can explain how a call-taker can determine a medical need and scene safety without knowing anything. I thought it was just our messed up, third-party, multiple PSAP system that was to blame.

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    We've gotten very careful here after we lost an EMT here in the county on a "difficulty breathing" call (NY FFs & EMTs - call your legislators and voice your support for "Mark's Law").

    We stage for any potentially violent call, and get law enforcement automatically for a host of others (unresponsive, seizures). I don't have the dispatch SOP.

    In some areas, 9-1-1 hang-ups have gotten a full response - law, fire, EMS - and that's based on the experience of a family member who tested her new phone's 9-1-1 autodial and didn't stay on the line to inform the operator that it was just a test. Don't know if they still do it there (CO), but it has happened.

    9-1-1 hang-ups here don't routinely get fire/EMS, but they do get two patrols on the surmise that it may be a domestic situation.

    As for where to stage - "out of sight, out of mind." And remember, our ambulances and BRTs aren't bulletproof. Approach the staging point "quiet" and dark. If the call is anywhere near the station (within a minute or three) we just hold in quarters.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Forum Member IronValor's Avatar
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    When in doubt stay out!!

    We have responded to unknown medical calls at addresses where callers have simply said I need an ambulance NOW! And have hung up. We will stage a few blocks away and wait for LE to clear the scene and then respond on in. This is the same protocol for any type of call that can pose a hazard to responders.
    Do not let the ghosts of our fallen brothers gaze upon you and ask " What have you done to my profession?" FTB DTRT EGH

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    Wouldn't the AHJ be the one to make the decision on where staging is?
    Stephen J Bourassa
    Latham FD (NY)
    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

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    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Dependant on what the caller gives the call taker and what the communications officer gives on dispatch, will dictate if the company stages or not.

    If they do stage, they run non emergent and will hold up 2 or 3 block away.

    The fire department doesn't respond to 9-1-1 hang ups. That is a police matter.
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    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitguy51 View Post
    Wouldn't the AHJ be the one to make the decision on where staging is?
    AHJ's generally have no part in day-to-day operations. The term usually applies to regulatory/governing bodies.

    That said, I presume you may have meant that if it's primarily it's a LE issue (domestic with injury, f'rinstance) that LE should designate staging. It's not a bad idea, but sometimes we know the area better than law enforcement (especially if it's a state trooper newly assigned to the area).

    We generally know where we should be to stay out of sight and out of range. It's rare to hear the cops come on the air and ask that EMS move further away.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    AHJ's generally have no part in day-to-day operations. The term usually applies to regulatory/governing bodies.

    That said, I presume you may have meant that if it's primarily it's a LE issue (domestic with injury, f'rinstance) that LE should designate staging. It's not a bad idea, but sometimes we know the area better than law enforcement (especially if it's a state trooper newly assigned to the area).

    We generally know where we should be to stay out of sight and out of range. It's rare to hear the cops come on the air and ask that EMS move further away.
    I guess I look at it a little differently than you do. If the Cops are in charge than I see them as the AHJ. Forgive me but Troopers in my town are found on the interstate, we don't even see a Sheriff Deputy in my town, unless he is headed to the county crossbar hotel. I guess we look at things either from a suburban or rural point of view.
    Last edited by Fitguy51; 05-27-2011 at 06:32 PM.
    Stephen J Bourassa
    Latham FD (NY)
    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

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    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitguy51 View Post
    I guess I look at it a little differently than you do. If the Cops are in charge than I see them as the AHJ. Forgive me but Troopers in my town are found on the interstate, we don't even see a Sheriff Deputy in my town, unless he is headed to the county crossbar hotel. I guess we look at things either from a suburban or rural point of view.
    We're very rural. But we generally have both troopers and deputies available, unless they're tied somewhere else, and both are dispatched by both the county and SP.

    Village cops will come out for urgent calls (the first officer on the scene of the Davis incident was a village patrol who covered ~15 miles at warp speed - he was closest at the time), but they usually stick pretty close to home.

    They are generally focused on the incident and getting there - we just stay out of their way until they need us. If things get "big" enough for organized staging (as opposed to holding short of the scene by a safe distance), one is usually established.

    On my way to the dealer for some maintenance on my truck the other day I passed a diner that was apparently the location of a law enforcement coffee break - there were 5-6 troop cars there, and a deputy just leaving. Most all of them would normally be available for a response in our service area, and we border another "beat" as well.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  12. #12
    Forum Member aromania's Avatar
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    Our policy is to stage on any incidents that appear to be violent by the responding police agency AND the there is not 100% certainty that the situation is no longer violent. Each police agency we run with is different, with one requesting us to stage on any incident where there might be a victim, while another agency only calls us once they have information there is a victim.

    We always stage on shootings, stabbings, and suicide attempts if the caller is the one attempting suicide.

    We don't normally stage on person down or unknown medical calls unless there is unusual information (like screaming and yelling in the background on the 911 call)

    We don't get dispatched for 911 hangups except in unusually situations or it is at an assisted living community/nursing home. 911 hangups are a PD issue.

    If there is a staging requirement we respond in without lights and sirens. Although, we end up staging on our front ramp for a large majority of our violent incident calls.

    We also have a protocol for staging in quarters. Typically this is because PD wants us available for a high-risk operation like serving a warrant or other SWAT operation, but our alarm room will call us on our "99" line and tell us stage in quarters if the violent incident is nearby.

    I work in an area that is has a deep history of violence. Today it isn't as bad as it was years ago, when I first started we ran a shooting, stabbing or other significant assault daily. Patients being dropped at our station back door and multiple patient shootings or fights were the norm. In fact, the first bit of advice I received was if there is a knock on the door and you can't see anyone, don't open the door. Now, with all this violent incidents EMS experience I can tell you that they only time I was uneasy on a call we staged on it was because PD was doing something to make us feel uneasy. It is the calls that don't have a staging requirement that are the dangerous ones; the difficulty breathing or fall injury calls that you end up in a ****ty situation with a drunk ******* and a gun. Every call has the potential to go violent, it just takes one idiot who doesn't understand the situation, some ******* with a vendetta or a psycopath hellbent of hurting someone to turn a "routine call" into an email from "The Secret List"
    "The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten." - (John) Calvin Coolidge
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    If the call is a result of domestic violence, we will wait until PD arrives and makes the scene safe.

    For bomb threats (my FD uses the term Code 100 to keep the "people in scannerland" out of the loop) we stage a block away and let the PD and the Massachusetts State Police's Hazardous Devices Unit handle the call.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitguy51 View Post
    Wouldn't the AHJ be the one to make the decision on where staging is?
    I am going to regret this.

    AHJ?

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    Authority Having Jurisdiction, used a lot in NFPA for the authority that reviews and approves various sorts of building, fire, and equipment codes.

    I guess it is now used outside of the fire safety realm.

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    We do have certain staging requirements for haz-mat, "found device" (bomb), structure fires, etc. We also get Silent Alarm/Assist Police, but that's usually a ladder and BC for force entry or PD needs a ladder. For those, proceed in lights/siren until about 4 blocks away then "reduce speed" ie., no warning devices. But from your post, I think you mean more "run of the mill" everyday-type calls.

    We don't have specific requirements for those, maybe on reported shootings and injuries from assault, dispatch will sometimes remind us to wait for police. Even then, there is no requirement like Thou Shalt Stay 3 Blocks Away And Wait Until Notified, it's more like go to a point where you can see the scene, and see when the cops show up, then go in on your own judgement.

    It depends on the nature/conditions of the call, which we get over radio after acknowledging the run. "Sick unknown"* (probably a majority of our calls), man down on highway, no caller on the line*, other vague calls, we go alone, PD usually doesn't respond to those unless we request them. Mental/Emotional cases, could be suicide or could be the patient is in happy-happy land, but just hearing "M/E" puts us on guard.

    * - "sick unknown"/"no caller on the line" calls - Our 911 calls go to PD first, they determine it's our call (happens on fire and EMS runs), caller hangs up before being transferred to our call-takers, our call-takers talk to PD call-takers to determine nature of response. 90+% are probably BS, but if they give indication of fire/accident/medical need/???, we're going to chase geese.

    It's just a matter of street smarts/situational awareness, and key to our safety. No matter what the nature, info from dispatch, etc., our protocols are basically scene safety before anything else. There is no shoe run worth not going home at the end of the day or night.
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    All domestic violence/assault, suicide, person down, hang-up call, is an automatic LE and EMS response. EMS will stage within visible range of the address, until LE clears them for approach/entry.

    Our dispatch teams tries to get a black and white picture mentally of what they are getting by the caller. If, at any point they see a "gray" area, they send LE, and have fire/EMS stage.

    Dispatch also has certain records they keep for certain address's. Red flag address's if you will. These are always a staging action until LE arrives and secures the scene.

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    ALTOONA FIRE DEPARTMENT
    STANDARD OPERATING GUIDELINES

    EFFECTIVE DATE LAST REVISION PAGES
    1-1-95 11-25-09 1 of 1
    SOG# SECTION GUIDELINE
    4-11 EMERGENCY RESPONSE VIOLENT/SUSPICIOUS CALLS


    PURPOSE
    This guideline is for response to calls where a potentially dangerous or threatening situation may exist from a violent individual(s) at the scene of any call of service from the Altoona Fire Department.


    SCOPE
    This guideline shall apply to all employees of Department that would be responding to these types of calls. This should also apply to all agencies responding.


    POLICY
    A “violent or threatening” individual is defined as any person who is involved in the following types of calls the fire department may be responding to:
    • Assault/Fight
    • Domestic Abuse
    • Suicide
    • Gunshot Wound
    • Stabbing

    No employee shall enter the scene of an emergency paged out as any of these types of calls, or any other call where a potential danger exists from violent or uncontrollable individuals until cleared to enter by dispatch or by law enforcement on scene.

    The Officer In Charge (OIC), senior responder, or first person on scene must make a determination of a staging area that is suitable for all units and all agencies responding. Once a staging area has been established, it must be broadcast to all responding units. All responding units shall respond to the staging area and remain there until law enforcement or the OIC gives the ok to proceed to the scene.

    The staging area MUST:
    • Be a safe distance from the scene as to not pose a threat or harm to responders.
    • Be out of sight of the scene, preferably around a corner or a block away.
    • Be large enough to support staging for all responding units.

    OIC responsibilities:
    • Preserve any evidence of a crime while performing your normal duties.
    • Limit unnecessary personnel from entering the scene.
    • Pull responding personnel out of scene if he/she feels the situation has escalated to become violent or threatening and report to the staging area again until the situation is under control.
    • Be sure all documentation is complete and accurate including supplemental statements for law enforcement if required.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    Authority Having Jurisdiction, used a lot in NFPA for the authority that reviews and approves various sorts of building, fire, and equipment codes.

    I guess it is now used outside of the fire safety realm.
    Actually I got it from the NIMS not NFPA.
    Stephen J Bourassa
    Latham FD (NY)
    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

  20. #20
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitguy51 View Post
    Actually I got it from the NIMS not NFPA.
    I probably would have held on to that lil tid bit.

    To the topic, we handle it like this:

    If we want to stage, we do. If we don't, we don't.
    Robert Kramer
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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