First Responders Update

By Kelly Gordon - sifrpresident@gmail.com
President, First Responders

I CANNOT believe that I am addressing this issue again. However, it bears repeating. Three weeks ago, we responded to a pretty serious call on the island. It happened to be on a street that once again makes it extremely difficult for someone NOT to be blocked in. 

As I wrote in a previous article, there are many moving parts when trying to get to a patient quickly on an island that doesn’t always have streets that make it very easy. While our on-island Paramedic, his partner, the off-island ambulance crew, and a couple of Skidaway Island First Responders were inside a house working on a patient, an incredibly impatient and aggressive neighbor approached a First Responder who was outside the home. She asked that we move the ambulance and/or fire truck. When told that wasn’t an option, this woman walked over to the home where the emergency was unfolding, walked into the scene where we were providing patient care, and asked the on-island Paramedic to move his vehicle. 

Now, there is no reason to tell any of you what was said because that is obvious. I’m baffled by the recurrence of this behavior and am not sure I understand why it seems to be okay with some residents on the island. We all know this woman never would have approached a First Responder off-island to ask them to move their vehicle. Please note we cannot and will not move our fire truck or ambulance while providing patient care. On those same lines, it is never okay to enter a home when a patient is receiving care and interrupt the people providing the care unless you are a family member or close friend -- especially for the reason above. We all are trying our best to be mindful of where we park our personal vehicles, so we don’t block the emergency vehicles.  

I’ve written about bike helmets many times. After working a pretty serious head injury from a bike accident recently, I implore all of you who ride to please wear a helmet. They might not be comfortable, and I know personally they are awful in the summer heat, but they can save your life and certainly prevent injuries if you’re wearing one. They really are like a seatbelt; you don’t think you need one until you NEED one. 

I ask all of you to please pay attention to your surroundings when driving both a car and a golf cart. Many of the Skidaway Island First Responders have been hindered while trying to get to a call recently because either no one sees them in their rearview mirror, or simply refuses to yield to us. If you see a car with white flashing lights on the roof or dashboard, sometimes along with flashing hazard lights, most likely it is us trying to get to someone in need. Imagine if this was you or your loved one. 

Here we are in the beginning of what is going to be a very hot time of year. It’s important to stay hydrated and listen to your body. If you feel weak or dizzy while playing tennis, golf, pickle ball, bocce, or any other outdoor activity, please STOP. Our body gives us signals, and if we wait too long to listen,  it can lead to life-threatening emergencies. 

Lastly, we’ve had many calls lately where patients have called EMS to render aid. Once we arrive on scene, they decide they really don’t want to go to the hospital. (Honestly, no one really wants to go to an ER.) Inevitably, we end up back at the same place later in the day or the day after for the same issue and end up transporting. We can’t convince you to go to hospital if you’re adamant you don’t want to. Please put yourself first, and remember if we suggest you go, there’s most often a very good reason. We don’t hesitate to tell you if it’s not necessary. We want what is best for you. 

Thank you for all the support and encouragement we get from this beautiful community. It’s an honor to serve all of you.