1. #1
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    Question PPE for EMS Personnel

    I am hoping for some recommendations on how to present this to my department. Iíve been with them for just over a year now and have noticed something that bothers me. When responding to MVAs the EMS Personnel are not wearing any PPE. The Personnel on the Fire/Rescue Apparatus are wearing their Bunker Gear but the Ambulance Crew are wearing just their regular clothes or station clothes. The department that I ran with prior to this department issued bunker gear to all of its members. If a call came out for an MVA everyone wore PPE regardless of the unit they were riding on. So I decided to check our Operational Guidelines and I found at least 7 different guidelines regarding this issue. What our O.G. boils it down to is that we have a right to PPE and that we are required to wear PPE unless the situation dictates otherwise (e.g. Water Rescue). With this to back me up I decided that I would write up a recommendation to be presented to the membership as a whole. My recommendations came down to about 3 different things. 1: Issue Bunker Gear to everyone and require that they wear it on all MVA calls. 2: The Department should purchase and issue an alternative PPE (Extrication Jumpsuits) to EMS Personnel and require personnel who are cross trained as ff/emt to wear their bunker gear. 3: Have Bunker Gear/Extrication Jumpsuits (preferably the jumpsuits) hanging at the station so that any one can grab one and wear it when responding to a MVA. Going with this I figure that purchasing extra bunker gear would get too expensive (I did online research and came up with an average of $1356.88) so I recommended the Jumpsuits (online estimates came out to $585.01 [this is jumpsuit, helmet, boots, gloves, eye protection]). I continued on by saying that the $585.01 is a bit high in actuality since we donít really need gloves (will be wearing rubber gloves) and we already have helmets unless they wish to purchase a new style.

    All this being said Iím trying to figure out the best way to present my idea to the membership and not get it shot down immediately. One other note is that Iím still a probationary member. I know that by doing this I run the risk of ending my membership if I upset the wrong people but I feel very strongly about the issue and am willing to push anyway.

    If anyone has any thoughts please let me know.

  2. #2
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    Your current situation does not sound that different than how most areas seem to do it.

    Out here, the Ambulance crews do not wear any turnout gear or Extrication jumpsuits either, but they also don't approach the vehicle until the Fire Crew has made it safe. They don't usually enter the vehicle unless absolutely necessary, and leave the initial stabilization and assessment to a fully geared fire dept first responder. Once the vehicle is realtively safe, thay may perform another assessment through the window, but then they back off until the FD completes enough extrication for good access to the patient. At that point the ambulance crew takes over treatment and immobilization.

    I think your idea is good, and I don't want to deter you from trying to improve your practices, but you might find it difficult to get support if no one else in your region is doing it either. Like all other new initiatives, your best bet is to go in armed. Try to find other depts in your area that do provide and use that type of PPE, and use them as an example. If there is a specific MVA extrication team in your area, they may be the best place to start.

    Good Luck with it.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  3. #3
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    The issue about EMS not being with the PT until they are extricated has been raised by a few people I've talked with. Unfortunetly around here that is a bit difficult. In an ideal response that would work out fine, but we have difficulty getting a full crew compliment out on the fire apparatus. There are many of our fire fighters that are not cross trained and the ones that are are usually only First Responders. Also the issue of if the PT needs ALS care and the only medic is on the ambulance.

  4. #4
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    Are your medics also FFs? Cause if they are, why don't they just wear their firefighting gear?
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

  5. #5
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    Dgilli, with your manpower and EMS training concerns I think you can make a real good case in favor of those jumpsuits. Your EMS personnel would be much better off...and consequently so would your patients. Good luck, I hope you get what you need. -46

  6. #6
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    hold on skippy. why do they need gear? i mean, how do you operate? does the FD extricate the patient, place them on a backboard, and they just magically appear on your stretcher (and yes, i know of a department that does this)? or are they climbing into the back of the car with no protection?

    the other thing to consider is that you are still a probie. propose it to your line officers first, behind closed doors. if they are in favor of it, let them present it to membership. while i agree that your heart is in the right place, it might be better to let those with more experience and a higher standing in the organization make the proposal.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    The squad Im on does the extrication (man power permitting) and also the fire department does backup Extrication Usually in the summer time we are just wearing our Golf Shirts & pants at MVA's and whoever is doing the extrication all of our rigs are outfitted with bunker gear (mainly only fits the smaller people) Pants,Helmets,Gloves,Jackets & Boots I believe we have 3 sets of gear is each rig plus 2 sets on the rescue truck. If the EMT is inside the car during extrication then they wear turnout gear if not we usually try to stick a FF in there. But if theres no extrication involved we just wear our normal duty clothes...either way..whoever is doing the extrication the EMT's who are not wearing turnout gear step back a few feet until they get the vehicle opened up..then we can move in and work...the EMT in the car usually maintains patient care until we can get in there and work.
    Andrew
    Firefighter/EMT
    New Jersey

  8. #8
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    I have seen EMS in everything from street clothes to jumpsuits to rescue jackets to turnout coats .... and really it all depends on how you function. If your personnal actually work IN the vehicle they do need some level of protection beyound street/station clothes and jumpsuits. I have seen and worked with some agencies go with the lightweight "rescue jackets" which afford some cut protection and have seen some that use turnout coats (and in some cases rescue or fire helmets), which have the disadvantage of being quite hot and cumbersome, but offer superior cut protection as well as some heat/fire protection. Here we (the fire department's EMS folks) usually does all the IN vehicle work if we are extricating or it's a hazardous situation, with the EMS personnal setting up outside and handling the patient care once the patient has been extricated. We generally use at least a turnout coat and helmet in the vehicle, and on occasion will use bunker pants as well. If there is no extrication or fuel leak and we are just backboarding the pt(s). as a precaution, or treating minor injuries, we generally remain in our station uniforms.
    I do like the suggestion of presenting it to the officers first, and getting thier feelings on the subject.

  9. #9
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    OOOOOps ... forgot to mention that if you are actually doing the extracation and/or working around jagged metal and broken glass in removing the patients(s) .... you definatly need and should expect to be provided with full turnout gear. There are times that we do cheat here and skip the pants but thats often because of the heat .... not that it makes it right.

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