Last week I talked about the 3 rules of Event Response Planning(ERP). I briefly touched on a major error I see time and again. All too often EMS services employ law enforcement response models in place of an EMS appropriate response model. Using the incorrect model is not only financially costly but may not meet the needs of the event and delay patient care.
Law enforcement models employ large numbers of highly visible officers in hopes that their presence will deter crime. A quick response to an incident is not the primary focus of this type of model while it is essential to a EMS response model.
One sure fire way to identify if the incorrect model is being employed is if EMS folks refer to things such as “Patrolling”. The EMS model is different from a law enforcement model in two crucial ways. First no matter how many EMS personnel placed at an event, vehicles employed or how much money spent the presence of EMS assets will never ever deter someone from becoming ill. Second, the idea of patrolling is problematic because of human instinct. When someone does become sick or injured, people around them will instinctively return to the last place they remember seeing help, by “patrolling” or moving from a set spot EMS services inadvertently make help a moving target, and when people arrive at that location and can’t find help panic may set in.
We must start employing EMS models for EMS responses. That means visible aid stations that have personnel ready to respond to an incident otherwise they stay stationary for the duration of the events no matter how bored they are. An event is simply another routine EMS response and we should approach it as professionally as we approach our daily tour of duty.