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Diverting from one call to another

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  • Diverting from one call to another

    We have all done it before. Enroute to a call and we run up on an accident or fire. Do you assign another engine to the original call? Do you continue to the call and report the new emergency to fire radio? I know people that have done both and gotten their *** chewed for both. What would you do?

    [ 10-27-2001: Message edited by: FireStick ]

  • #2
    If I pulled up on an accident or a fire I would stay on scene and have another engine dispatched to the original call. Think of it this way, how would feel if you saw a firetruck onscene for a minute and then took off to another scene without doing anything. I would be pretty upset. I also think that it is the law that you have to stop if you pull up on a scene and you have medical training.

    9-11-01 Gone but never forgotten.


    • #3
      You may want to check or have your dept/company/municipality attorney(s) look into you state, local laws to see what is covered. If its up to the individual emergency service I would say it depends on the type of call you are originally dispatched on, and what you encountered enroute. For example if you are 1st due to any type of alarm dealing with structural fire and/or fire with structural exposure, depending on your response area, I'd continue in and have the 2nd due pick up the call you came across, unless they were closer to the original dispatch. Also manning comes into play, if its a car accident, I would feel comfortable leaving 1 FF/EMT to begin assessment off my crew and continue in. Firekid you are right to a point. If you have medial training and you are inservice (note the "inservice"), and come across an accident or medical emergency, you do have a duty to act. However if you are assigned to a specific call you are then out of service by being assigned to such. Also with accidents it isn't proven to be injury until you stop to assess it, and/or you are told by a 3rd party. (bystander, victim, dispatch, PD)
      The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.


      • #4
        We`d continue on to the first call, and inform dispatch of whatever we saw, they`d re-transmit our tones for that call, or send the next due department. We`d have another engine there in a minute, especially if guys are coming in to pick up rigs for the first call. It`s all about communicating with dispatch, and talking to whatever other units sign on the air.


        • #5
          If you saw the other call and you didn't stay, would that be negligence?

          If there was someone injured and you had EMTs on the rig, I am pretty sure it would be.
          IACOJ Agitator
          Fightin' Da Man Since '78!


          • #6
            This is an area that there is probably no right answer, just the best answer based on your knowledge of both incidents and situations at the time.

            I doubt there's an SOP that could be effectively written to cover all circumstances, or for that matter, you could present the same facts and choices to two seperate juries and receive different verdicts.

            Let's think about situations like this:

            Responding 1st Responder w/AED on board, 1st due unit, to a reported CPR in progress by bystanders, and you come across a Motor Vehicle Accident. The MVA doesn't block the road, so you can physically procede. Your quick size-up without leaving the vehicle sees that the damage isn't severe, and the injured appear to be "walking wounded."

            Responding 1st Responder, w/AED on board, 1st due unit, to a sick person, and you come across a Motor Vehicle Accident. The MVA doesn't block the road, so you can physically procede. Your quick size-up without leaving the vehicle sees that the damage isn't severe, and the injured appear to be "walking wounded."

            Now, thinking about these two situations, what's one of the first things taught in EMT Class? ABC...Airway, Breathing, Circulation. The original call in the first scenario has a major ABC problem, and one with almost no chance of survival without rapid AED. In the second scenario, a "sick person" without any more knowledge, it's reasonable to believe that delaying their care for 5, 10 extra minutes will not affect their outcome. The actions you take in the two situations should be different!

            A fire scenario: Your responding first due to a reported "House with heavy smoke coming from the eaves" and come across a fully-involved car fire with no exposures. The car is gone -- it's totaled, and in the unlikely event someone was inside, they're dead now. The house from the sounds of it can still be saved, and if there is life inside the house they have a lot better chance to survive than someone in a fully involved car. Sounds reasonable to continue to the house, and let the 2nd due engine take the car.

            Now, let's have a call with an internal fire alarm on a windy day, and you come across a car fire extending to nearby brush. You know the vast majority of internal alarms are false or for minor problems like cooking smoke. You know the likelihood of there being a legitimate emergency at the internal alarm is very, very small -- and your faced with the legitimate problem of brush fire on a windy day getting out of control or extending to other cars/structures. Probably a good idea to hit the known fire, and let the 2nd due engine check out the automatic alarm.

            Even to a bit of extreme, but common, situation -- you're on a divided highway, and go past an auto accident in the other direction. Do you turn around to check it out? Do you walk across a highway to check it out? Neither of those are particulary safe things to do. To safely respond to it, you need to go to the next exit and turn around. Probably time to call someone else to check it out.

            I think it would be very, very hard to show negligence for simply failing to stop. If you failed to take any action -- that's Gross Negligence, but it's easy to cover yourself -- yes, we took action. I called for another unit to handle the accident, and we proceded.

            So the answer is...there's no good answer, other than think and make the best decision with the information you have at hand.


            NEGLIGENCE - The failure to use reasonable care. The doing of something which a reasonably prudent person would not do, or the failure to do something which a reasonably prudent person would do under like circumstances. A departure from what an ordinary reasonable member of the community would do in the same community.

            Negligence is a 'legal cause' of damage if it directly and in natural and continuous sequence produces or contributes substantially to producing such damage, so it can reasonably be said that if not for the negligence, the loss, injury or damage would not have occurred.

            GROSS NEGLIGENCE - Failure to use even the slightest amount of care in a way that shows Recklessness or willful disregard for the safety of others.
            IACOJ Canine Officer


            • #7
              Just last month, YFD Engine 7 was dispatched to a report of wires down. Enroute, they saw a soon-to-be fully-involved structure fire. I am pretty sure that department regs say that they continue on to the origional call and they report it and only if dispatch says, are you to divert to the new call. Dispatch sent a full assignment to the fire, Eng 7 briefly went to the wires down call, where the PD had it under control, and ended up going to the structure fire, which was an abandoned house, and controlled the flames as the house ended up in the basement. In most cases, I would say that it is best to go to the origional call and let dispatch tone someone else in. If you were origionally supposed to be going to one call, that is what you need to be focused on. I won't say what was best in the case of this abandoned house fire, b/c I don't want to armchair QB. If your department's policy says go to the origional call, in that case, it is a no-brainer, you go to the origional call. If they don't have any SOP, then like Dal said, make your best judgement off of the info you know. This job is about decisions you make, so throw the stuff together and make one.

              [ 10-28-2001: Message edited by: daysleeper47 ]


              • #8
                I have had this happen to me twice. Once I was second due to an alarm, drove up on a MVA with injuries, and got cleared right as I came up on the MVA. The second time, was enroute first due to an alarm, drove up on an obvious serious MVA right after it happened. The dust and smoke was still settling on this one. We stopped, found we had one DOA, one patient entrapped with a compromised airway, and one with minor injuries. We advised dispatch of what we had, and that we needed them to dispatch another engine to fill out the alarm response. If we wouldn't have stopped, there is no doubt in my mind there would have been two dead patients in this wreck. Instead, the 17 year old lived and is just about back walking. Would I had stopped if I were enroute to something other than an alarm? i don't want to eventhink about it.


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