You Make the Call – Resources Needed Elsewhere? What happened

This situation happened to, yes you guessed it, me when I was in the Officer’s seat for a few hours and we went shopping. We were so close to this alarm that we were on scene and in pump before the dispatch was completed.

On the surface we have a 3 story type 5 (Balloon frame ordinary construction) with similar buildings on both sides, 1/8″ apart not allowing for the “hot lap” so sought after in classes.

Soon after my firefighter shut down the power to the buzzing elevator box, my immediate concern was for what was behind the wall the box was bolted to and where the elevator motor room was.

As the balance of the box alarm assignment began to arrive I updated the Battalion Chief that we had no fire so far, but were checking for extension of an electrical box to an elevator control. Our truck companies carry Thermal Imaging Cameras (TIC) and we certainly needed one since this box turned out to be mounted on an exterior wall, meaning the only access was through the interior wall of the building next door.

Until we could confirm there was no extension, this situation gets the bulk of the resources assigned to it.

Behind all the clothes and storage was the elevator motor room, which was indeed charged with smoke, almost hiding the burnt out motor and smoldering wires. The electrical conduit served as a tiny chimney for the small motor room and was the reason the garage smoke seemed so light. The motor had faulted, causing the electrical box to trip. It was warm, but not hot, but the conduit fastened to the outside of the wall was hotter and was a bright white on the TIC.

If you said continue the assignment until confirmation of conditions, you made the right call.

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6 thoughts on “You Make the Call – Resources Needed Elsewhere? What happened”

  1. I’m all about sending resources and staging. It puts the personnel and equipment close by in case you need them. However, if I could borrow from your post a bit and carry this over to some other situations that EMS and fire agencies haven’t quite grasped. (I’ll write my own post on this someday)

    Thinking about the potential for life lost, or lives saved, or the efficient use of resources. We need to do a better job of responding, staging, and resources utilization on certain EMS calls.

    First, on the average medical call – we don’t generally need 3-4 paramedics and some FF/EMTs in some poor little old lady’s bedroom, just because she has some leg pain. Maybe we could stage crews on the street until the first in medics make a better determination of the patient’s condition?

    Second, on a major MVC, with possible entrapment/extrication, I think we need to send more resources. With modern extrication tools, good scene management, and simultaneous procedures, we could easily extricate most people in less than 15″. Unlike most fire calls, there is a greater potential for reducing mortality and morbidity on these MVCs. Yet, we tend to still be steeped in a tradition of response.

    WDYT?

    1. For the average medical call, as you mentioned, we need only one responder. One responder trained to evaluate the patient and re-triage them. THEN send an ambulance or other transport unit. I agree.

      For entrapment/MVA, my service sends the entire known galaxy: 2 engines (one of them ALS) a truck (extrication) a Heavy Rescue Squad (more extrication) a Battalion Chief (to manage the fire resources) a Rescue Captain (to manage the EMS resources) and an ambulance.

      We could get by with one engine/truck with tools and an ambulance in most cases and units at teh scene request their needs after evaluation.

      Indeed the current model bases response as defined by the two people involved with the absolute least idea what is going on:
      The caller and the call taker.

      1. That’s good, I’m glad your agency has tailored response levels to potential. Just before I left EMS, 15 years ago, I developed a stronger protocol for high-MOI MVCs. I had even been commissioned by JEMS to write an article – but then I left EMS and went back to school.

        Having returned to EMS, I see some of the things that were left undone 15 years ago – this is on my mind and your post reminded me of it.

  2. I’m all about sending resources and staging. It puts the personnel and equipment close by in case you need them. However, if I could borrow from your post a bit and carry this over to some other situations that EMS and fire agencies haven’t quite grasped. (I’ll write my own post on this someday)

    Thinking about the potential for life lost, or lives saved, or the efficient use of resources. We need to do a better job of responding, staging, and resources utilization on certain EMS calls.

    First, on the average medical call – we don’t generally need 3-4 paramedics and some FF/EMTs in some poor little old lady’s bedroom, just because she has some leg pain. Maybe we could stage crews on the street until the first in medics make a better determination of the patient’s condition?

    Second, on a major MVC, with possible entrapment/extrication, I think we need to send more resources. With modern extrication tools, good scene management, and simultaneous procedures, we could easily extricate most people in less than 15″. Unlike most fire calls, there is a greater potential for reducing mortality and morbidity on these MVCs. Yet, we tend to still be steeped in a tradition of response.

    WDYT?

    1. For the average medical call, as you mentioned, we need only one responder. One responder trained to evaluate the patient and re-triage them. THEN send an ambulance or other transport unit. I agree.

      For entrapment/MVA, my service sends the entire known galaxy: 2 engines (one of them ALS) a truck (extrication) a Heavy Rescue Squad (more extrication) a Battalion Chief (to manage the fire resources) a Rescue Captain (to manage the EMS resources) and an ambulance.

      We could get by with one engine/truck with tools and an ambulance in most cases and units at teh scene request their needs after evaluation.

      Indeed the current model bases response as defined by the two people involved with the absolute least idea what is going on:
      The caller and the call taker.

      1. That’s good, I’m glad your agency has tailored response levels to potential. Just before I left EMS, 15 years ago, I developed a stronger protocol for high-MOI MVCs. I had even been commissioned by JEMS to write an article – but then I left EMS and went back to school.

        Having returned to EMS, I see some of the things that were left undone 15 years ago – this is on my mind and your post reminded me of it.

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