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Responding to MVAs while traveling

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  • Responding to MVAs while traveling

    Quick summary, I am a volunteer in a rural area. I drive approx. 80 miles to work and in this time I have come across a number of MVA's outside of our typical response area. I have typically held the view of, if responders are already on scene, move on.
    I have had a few that I actually witnessed and obviously stopped for. Checked on the patient (so far no injuries), notified dispatch and generally played traffic control. Once the responding department is on scene, I generally stepback, check with LEO that they don't need anything from me and move on. Note: most of the surrounding area is VFD as well
    What is the appropriate level of response in this scenario? Medical and such. Should I be providing the responding department with patient information?
    Lastly, is it appropriate to identify yourself to the patient as "so and so with the Fire Department" or should you just be considered under Good Samaritan.

  • #2
    sounds like you are doing normal, yes give any patient info you have, and yes id yourself, sometimes it makes all people involved more comfortable, or if someone is there with lower or higher level of med knowledge they may step up or you may step back a little.


    • #3
      I'd lean toward identifying my self as "I'm Fred, an EMT from the Podunk Hollow Fire Department," to the patients, LEO, dispatch (if I call them) and FDs, especially if you've initiated any sort of care. As Fire49 notes, it may make the patients feel a little more comfortable, among others.

      Of course, that could lead to "can you ride in with us?" if it's a bad one.

      Sometimes, if there are personnel on scene in a rural area, I'll ask if they're all set. As a rule, they are.

      If I'm in early and know the area, protocols, etc, I might make a recommendation - air medical, more ambulances, etc. I'd do the same for a fire - perhaps recommending a second alarm. As a chief, and being generally known around my area, my suggestion may garner some credence.

      Someone in that situation can also provide an overall view - X cars, y patients, z needing transport, etc.

      Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

      Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.


      • #4
        Thanks for the responses.
        I had the same view about identifying yourself, making people a little more comfortable but wasn't sure how appropriate that was.
        As far as suggestions I am no chief, so I don't have such credence.


        • #5
          I think simply calling in with a size up of the incident could be very helpful. Number and extent of injuries, exact location, number and type of vehicles, etc.
          You don't have to make recommendations but identifying yourself as a firefighter by name and department would give your info a lot of creedence as compared to the average civilian.


          • #6
            Im in a very similar situation. I typically follow the same line of thought as well. If no responders are on scene, Ill stop and make sure that everyone is ok and that the call has been placed. Help folks if I can. As soon as somebody else gets there, Im gone.


            • #7
              'Responding' to a MVA in my mind means actively going to accident scenes to render aid.

              You are talking about what to do if you come across an accident in your travels. If you are there before the local first responders, call 911, identify yourself as a FF/EMT and update the call-taker with the relevant information. Number of patients, anyone trapped/pinned etc. Occasionally our dispatch will say 'off-duty firefighter from xyz on the scene advises that....' which will sometimes upgrade the response to include the additional required units (e.g. an ALS unit to a call that routinely gets a BLS response). Dispatch will never downgrade a response based on information from off-duty personnel on the scene, that call can only be made by someone from one of 'our' agencies.


              • #8
                Sounds like you're doing what's appropriate. Just make sure to keep yourself safe, not sure if you'd be covered by workman's comp in whatever state you're in. I usually carry a first aid kit and flares for such an occasion, along with EMS gloves.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by johnsb View Post
                  Sounds like you're doing what's appropriate. Just make sure to keep yourself safe, not sure if you'd be covered by workman's comp in whatever state you're in. I usually carry a first aid kit and flares for such an occasion, along with EMS gloves.
                  I now carry the same after the last one. Inclement weather, poor visibility and rural roads are a recipe for secondary collisions. Patient was pinned in but relatively uninjured. Ended up parking a couple cars a ways up the road with hazards flashing. It worked but on the way home after leaving the scene, I stopped by and grabbed some LED road flares and other supplies I didn't have in my personal vehicle. Live and learn.


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