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Vincent Liou
New member
Username: Vliou

Post Number: 1
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 - 02:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello,

My first post! Love the forum here!

Having been with SJA for 1 year now serving Brigade 89 (Kitchener Waterloo Division), I have found myself with a great bunch of people. Sadly, this comes with a mixed bag.

SJA trains all of us to the AMFR II level because of what happened in the past, and I am hoping on your ideas on what we can do to help us clear our tarnished reputation.

A few years ago, from what I understand, the MFR's at SJA used the Ambulance in an inappropriate way, running lights + sirens to bars, running red lights with no emergency at hand, etc, etc. They were completely out of line and beligerent.

Since then, the MFR team here disbanded, and a few years later, started up again with a few great people. Since then, it's grown to roughly 30 people.

I have heard that EMS hate us, and I completely understand why, but I am desperately hoping to change this thought.

A few months ago, I was first on scene to a vehicle that landed upside down after flying over an overpass. He was dead, without a shadow of a doubt. When EMS came, I approached them VERY respectfully, gave them my analysis, told them what happened. They said Thank you, and I let them do their thing.

I was so hurt to join SJA to find out that our relationship with EMS was that bad. I envy areas such as the Niagara region and have had hidden and secret thoughts to join them...of course, I would never do this, but it would be great!

I am hoping for any feedback as to what we can do to regain our reputation. I have thought about apologizing to EMS, writing a letter, or in person. I have yet to take any of these thoughts to the Superintendent. Lots of change is happening here, and I am hoping to be respected in my community. We put lots of hours like you guys and gals, so it pains me to see our organization frowned upon...

Thanks so much,
Vincent Liou
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Lana H
Senior Member
Username: Ldh

Post Number: 178
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 - 10:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Vincent congratulations on your desire to make your division a new and wonderful place to be. DON'T defect! Attitudes like that don't bring about the necessary change however - I have a suggestion for you but you must discuss this with your Superintendent because when all is said and done they are responsible for everything that happens in regards to that division. Discuss with them (and the Training Officer) and if they are cool with it maybe even take the lead on this. Every division likes to see new faces and get new input so guest speakers are a great way to have this happen (and you might even get a recruit or two in the process - you never know!). Have you ever considered having someone from your local EMS come in as a speaker for your group? Prepare in advance with the types of questions your group would like answered - like how can they assist EMS once they are on scene of an SJA call, what is it that we can do to make the EMS lives a little easier (what information do they need upfront (clarity/concise - just the facts ma'am), what "toys" your division would like to see to make themselves more familiar and also letting your local EMS know what we are being trained on so they don't have too high (or too low) of expectations regarding what our level of training allows us. We have done this a few times in the past and we find it is benefical both for us and for the EMS reps. Most EMS services have PR people or Community Reps (who are generally EMS but might not currently be in field) that will come in and do this no problem - sometimes they'll be able to bring a live crew with them so you get to poke around in their trucks as well (until they get a call of course). This is a great way to start building a relationship and if things go well, in the future you might discuss the options of combined training exercises and that type of thing or perhaps even rideouts on a live truck (if local protocol allows). Another thing you might try and this works especially well with Cadets and even new members is setting up a tour of a local EMS facility or CACC (dispatch centre) if you have one close. Hope some of these suggestions work for you. Good Luck! Keep the faith!

(Message edited by ldh on August 28, 2007)
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Chris Foerster
Member
Username: Cfoerster

Post Number: 14
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 - 06:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

One thing to keep in mind though is that no matter how relatively good the relationship becomes, never expect it to be perfect. Many Paramedics do not see a need for any type of first response (whether fire, campus response, or SJA) and won't really care what you have to say on a call. Just accept this and learn to appreciate the times that you know you have made a difference to the patient.
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John Renacure, RN, MScN
Advanced Member
Username: Johnrenacure

Post Number: 33
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 09:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Its so true, in my experiences with SJA, as well as other agencies some EMS professionals just dont see the need for anything other than EMS...

I was recently a race medical director for a running event, and we had conflict with EMS at the medical tent, and this tent was staffed by Emergency Room Nurses, Physicians, etc. and they gave us the cold shoulder and caused some grief over some of the patient care.

Of course, there was immediate power struggles going on, and although I agreed with the Nsg staff to keep things smooth, we tried to patch up the conflict (then of course I had unappy nurses on my hand but oh well).

A big thing to look at is we are all doing this for the health and wellbeing of the injured athletes, not for self gain, satisfaction, etc. If the Paramedics get their nickers in a knot with you on scene be very professional about it and rest be assured you will come out on top looking like the professional.

The best way to gain their respect is to maintain a professoinal appearance, ensure that your volunteers are appropriately trained in the skills needed, as well as to train them to recognize when they are in over their heads, etc. as the worst thing to happen is when a paramedic shows up and sees a SJA member doing things they shouldn't be, and im sure you will see the relationship slowly develop...

Another good thing is to encourage some of the medics to volunteer in some capacity with the organization!
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Nicola Gale
New member
Username: Ukjohnner

Post Number: 1
Registered: 01-2009
Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2009 - 05:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Don't worry it isn't just a problem in Canada. Johnners here in the UK also experience some hostility from our NHS ambulance service paramedics and technicians.

It is understandably so as with all organizations we have those who think they are paramedics in disguise and try to act above their abilities and as a result the NHS guys experience problems.

We are lucky here in Devon and especially at the Okehampton unit. We have built up a good rapport with our regular service colleagues to the point where they know when we call 999 for assistance we will have done everything we can and we will hand over the patient properly.

Also with working and an EMD for the South Western Ambulance Service (which covers, Devon Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset) I have managed to build a few bridges between us. There is still distrust with some units but gradually we are getting there.

Certainly the key with us here in gaining respect is working within our trained abilities and offering the regulars assistance if they need it.

I think because we work so well with the local paramedics it has led to two of them joining us as new members and while they may not be able to cover every duty their training and experience in invaluable to us and we have learned a huge amount from them.
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John Nayduk
Senior Member
Username: John_nayduk

Post Number: 53
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2009 - 12:17 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Respect has to be earned. If St John has tarnished the relationship then St John must do the work to repair it.
In Windsor, we have a supervisor from the EMS as our training officer. He does a fantastic job. It also gives us a chance to let all of our members know what is expected of them and what is not. We have recruited quite a few paramedic students into the Brigade. Eventually, these folks will be on our local EMS and will have a good relationship with us because they are one of us. We try to invite the chief operations officer to our events and to be a guest speaker. We invite EMS reps to observe our classes. We work together on large events such as the upcoming Special Olympics here in Windsor.
Sometimes, you need to remind our members what our role is and if they are not willing to "play by the rules", then they should be asked to turn in their uniforms and find another organization to belong to.

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Jeff Segal, A-EMCA
Senior Member
Username: Jeff_segal

Post Number: 82
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Friday, January 01, 2010 - 12:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The relationship between EMS and St. John is something I have been trying to fix for a number of years, however some people love St. John and others donít want anything to do with them. Being involved with both, I am always talking highly of St. John and try to talk with some of the people who have bad run ins with SJA personal to try to get them to see the good in what people do to volunteer in there community!

In regards to helping with the local EMS agency, I would approach your Divisional Superintendant who can go to your district staff (if there are still some) who can go to the board, and see if maybe a meeting can be setup with your local EMS. This may start the bridging process to help bring the SJA name back into good terms with paramedics on the road.


I hope this helps, Feel free to contact me if you would like me to go more in detail.
Jeffrey.segal@on.sja.ca
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Richard Ball
Senior Member
Username: Rick

Post Number: 47
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 12:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Forget about district staff the provincial command dissolved them.
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John Douglas Allen
Intermediate Member
Username: Bluenose_sja

Post Number: 27
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2010 - 05:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It's been my experience, from nearly 16 years in the Volunteer Fire Service, that it's not just Paramedics who give volunteers the hairy eyeball. The Fire Service is even worse.
The thing that gets my goat here in NS is it's only been about a dozen years that we've had Paramedics and most the old Ambulance Attendants (like me) we're only trained to Advanced FA, by SJA. How quick they forget.
But like many others have indicated here treat your patient to the best of your training, skill and scope realizing EMS will do whatever they do and say whatever they say when they get on scene. I've had them clear my patient's C-spine, totally unpackage the victim and walk them out to the rig for further assessment. I've seen them argue with nurses over pt care...Heck I've seen crews second guess each other on scene, so it's best to let it roll off your back, knowing you gave the best First Aid care you can.
Take pride in SJAs great legacy and acting in a professional manner is the best way to get their respect.
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Jeff Segal, A-EMCA, SBStJ
Senior Member
Username: Jeff_segal

Post Number: 84
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010 - 10:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

John, I agree with your statement about letting calls roll off your back, and not taking all your care to heart if the paramedics do something that you disagree with.

However I disagree with your statement "EMS will do whatever they do and say whatever they say when they get on scene" I am sorry if you had a paramedic clear your c-spine, or had a paramedic ask similar or the same questions you have asked, let me shed some light if I can to make you understand why they do this.. Just because you throw on a c-collar doesnít necessarily mean they need it, and if paramedics ask the same questions as you do, doesnít mean they didnít listen to you, for all you know they are about to give a symptom relief drug and they have to confirm these questions themselves. I have been on many scenes where I have been told by the fire dept that the patient has chest pain, and the severity etc.. I still ask the patient again to confirm before I start just pumping them with drugs!

I admire John that you were an ambulance attendant, and I am sure you have seen your fare share of calls, but your correct when SJA does wonders and trains people extremely well, but back on your statement about how quick "they forget" we donít forget. If someone is willing to help I am more then happy to let them help. But what I want to make sure you understand, advanced first aid isnít a paramedic.
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John Douglas Allen
Intermediate Member
Username: Bluenose_sja

Post Number: 28
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010 - 04:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jeff;
I didn't mean to come off sounding sour grapes.
Each level of the Chain of EMS has a clear job and I understand EMS has very different training, scope and protocols and I am not a Paramedic, or even an "Ambulance Attendant." They are free to clear my C-spine, etc. anytime.
I was referring more to individual attitudes and professionalism, none of which you, as a First Aider can control.
I'm sure we've all had individual Ambulance crews that viewed us(both FD and SJA)as valuable and others who couldn't care less who you are or what you did, before they got there. It's those guys and gals, who forget where EMS came from, and we're all working toward the best patient outcome, that get my goat.
I reiterate it's best to let it roll off your back, knowing you gave the best First Aid care you could.
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Jeff Segal, A-EMCA, SBStJ
Senior Member
Username: Jeff_segal

Post Number: 85
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010 - 07:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My apologies then John, Your absolutely correct.. we are all there to help people, and make a difference in someoneís life
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Michael Pellerin Huffman
New member
Username: Meph

Post Number: 1
Registered: 05-2011
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2011 - 02:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sadly this has been an ongoing problem for Northumberland Branch as well. We even had an ACP interrogate one of my members on why "medical First Responder" is on the back of our shirts. That said however we have been working hard to show them that our level of training is not just SFA and that our professionalism is tops. we have been discovering at recent medicals which we require EMS Support that our relationship with them has been improving greatly. We even had some great conversations at the recent CN Derailment which we were called out to. I hope that we can all continue to work hard to bring the relationship up to the best it can be.
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Chris Bolestridge
New member
Username: Cbolestridge

Post Number: 2
Registered: 11-2011
Posted on Monday, November 28, 2011 - 06:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would like to throw in my two cents worth here. Being originally from Federal District, we had a rough relationship with Ottawa EMS initially. We have some large scale events where we work hand in hand with them. What has worked is that we usually take the intake, and if we think it's serious enough; we hand off. Now moving to Sudbury, ON; we defintley have a very bad relationship with EMS. Part of the reason was for lack of training and knowledge. We are changing that, and in fact we just recently did first aid and boarded one of their members (EMS). So I think what the most positive approach for them is to introduce yourself and just be nice. Don't be to cocky, and know where your level of training is and their level of training is. Offer to assist and hang around, but don't get in their way. If you establish a relationship where you are there to assist but not be over bearing, then they will look at you in a more positive light.

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