AUAA… Episode 20 Emergency Medical Services – Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

From Penn State Health, this is Ask Us
Anything About… Emergency Medical Services. I’m Scott Gilbert. There are
steps everyone can do to help EMS crews do their life-saving job this involves
clearing the way when emergency vehicles are approaching and making it easier for
them to find your home. As September is National Preparedness Month, we thought
it was a good time to check in with Scott Buchle. He’s program manager for
Penn State Health lifeline EMS and he’s here to answer some of my questions and
your questions today. Just add them to the comment field here below this post and
we’ll be sure to pose them to Scott. Hey, Scott! First of all, thanks a lot for
being here. My Pleasure. I’d like to ask you a bit about, it’s a bit of a traffic question I
guess. If I’m driving down the highway or maybe in a city and I see an ambulance
coming up behind me, what are the steps I should take? How can I be safe as a
driver but also make make way for the ambulance? Sure. The first thing to do is
do not panic. Whether it’s a fire truck, an ambulance, a police car, a lot of times
people will panic break right in front of the emergency vehicle. Okay.
The other thing is do not directly stop in front of the emergency vehicle
because then what happens is, the emergency vehicle has to serpentine
around all the other cars that are stopped. So, is the idea to make way or is it
to just stop to let them go around. The idea is to yield to the emergency
vehicle if you have room to get off to the right side of the road. Pull to the
right, that’s the law in the Commonwealth. A lot of people or some people will pull to
the left which again makes it more of a serpentine for the emergency vehicle. If
you’re driving a big firetruck that’s kind of a problem. So ambulance, police,
car, fire truck, whatever pull to the right, do not panic and leave as much
room as possible. If you’re in a situation where you do not have room to
pull to the right, try and get over as best you can. A lot of times, we see
people at intersections where it’s a red light and they don’t have room to move
so it’ll happen is people will start to slowly parked their cars to make room
for the ambulance or worst case scenario, we have to wait till the light turns
green and then proceed through. Sounds like some common sense pretty much?
Correct. Correct. Yes. Good deal. Let’s say I’m the person who called 911 I requested the ambulance,
what are some things I can do to help the ambulance find my home? I’ve heard
things like leaving a light on outside, making sure you have a prominently
displayed house number. Are those things helpful? Absolutely! Those are two the
biggest items. The light on especially at night. If possible, if somebody can go out
and help flag the ambulance down, that would be great. The biggest thing is just
numbering on your house or wherever your business or wherever you’re living. We run
into a lot of complexes or apartment complexes, town homes and so forth, where the numbers are very obscure. They might be hidden by vegetation or they’re just
too small to read. So the bigger the number the better.
We have GPS tracking and all the vehicles so we’re pretty precise at
finding your home but no system is absolutely perfect. So I think the large
numbers is the biggest help. Lights at night and again if somebody can go
outside and help flag the ambulance down, that’s best.
You’re watching Ask Us Anything About… Emergency Medical Services from Penn
State Health. Thanks for tuning in for this Facebook live video.
I’m Scott Gilbert alongside, Scott Buchle. He’s program manager for Penn State
Health Life Lion EMS. We welcome your questions, whether you’re watching this
video live or if you’re watching it on playback. Just add them as comments in
the comment field below this Facebook post and we’ll make sure we track down
some answers for you. You know Scott, once the EMS crew arrives at the home,
what are some tips there, for kind of helping them do their job? For example, if
I have pets, I imagine that could be a factor? Absolutely. Pets have a tendency
to be a problem for EMS crews when they come to a house. A lot of people think
that the bigger pets, big dogs or more ferocious, that can be. In our experience,
an my own personally as well, I think the little dogs are more ferocious. Is that right?
Absolutely! Yes, they are very fierce sometimes but the thing is we don’t want
to hurt the pets so with the smaller animals we don’t want to step on them.
We’re bringing equipment in with us so we don’t want to have the smaller
animals get injured. The bigger animals, you know, they have a tendency…
Animals are smart. They know when someone is sick. So sometimes, they will park
themselves beside the patient. They don’t really want to move. So if you can take your pets and put them in another room, outside and you know,
backyard or wherever so they’re not in the way, that’s the biggest help. The next
thing to do is make sure we have room to get into a patient. Sometimes, that might
require moving some furniture EMS crews sometimes will move furniture to make
way for the ambulance cot to come inside and so we can extricate the
patient. Sometimes we will also call the fire department to come out and help us
with extrication of a patient out of the building. Whether it be moving furniture, just helping to carry the patient. Again, so
that’s more importance to make room and get your animals out of the way. Often
when we go to the doctor’s office we’re told to have medications ready to show
to the doctor. And when there’s an ambulance coming to your house, same
advice applies? Absolutely. Yes, it is part of this job sometimes playing detective.
We have people who will go for a 9-1-1 call and we will get handed a several
bottles. Several bottles of medication and we have to take the time to write
those down to take that list along to the hospital with us. We really don’t
want to take the medications to the hospital. Just for fear they might get
lost or separated from the patient. There’s a lot of money in those
pharmaceuticals so we don’t want them to get lost. So our recommendation is,
everybody, regardless if you take one medication or if you take one hundred
medications should have a list written down of what you take, how often you take
it and what the dosage is and who the physician is who prescribed it. A lot of
times people have several physicians who prescribe different medications, so again,
that makes our jobs easier and also the nurses and doctors here at the emergency
department and also throughout the health system as they’re trying to piece
together what might be wrong with a patient, what the reason is for certain
medication, who prescribed it. Let’s talk a little bit about the different types
of ambulance crews they could show up at a home based on the type of call. We hear
about BLS. Basic Life Support. ALS for Advanced Life Support. This type of
vehicle here is this is? This is technically a mobile intensive care unit it can do
the duties of a basic life support unit as well. To qualify is an ALS unit
you have a paramedic on board and you have advanced life support equipment. All
of our ambulances are dual role and the difference between the two is, a
basic life support ambulance is staffed by two emergency medical technicians,
they have an AED, an Automated External Defibrillator, they do not have a
medication bag, that would come with a paramedic. The difference
is in the skill set of the providers between an EMT and a paramedic. So, the
paramedics would have the heart monitor, they would be doing the IVs, they would
be doing the advanced airway skills, carrying more
medications. So that’s pretty much the difference between the two. So a cardiac
arrest or a life-threatening situation will call for ALS? Correct. Now, in some
situations, you may get both units depending on how a municipality is
structured. For most of the areas that Life Lion EMS serves as a 9-1-1 coverage
we provide sole service where as one of our units, one of our ALS units, will
respond. There are some other areas where we work with neighboring BLS units. So
this ambulance would bring the paramedic any equipment where one of our ALS
squads would come with the paramedic and equipment and then they would jump on
that BLS unit and take the patient to the hospital. Now you did touch on
briefly the difference between EMTs and paramedics, can you explain that a little
more in depth just so people may hear the terms and think that are interchangeable?
But that’s actually not the case. Sure, the difference is basically skill
set in education. Both of them are certified through the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. An emergency medical technician goes to school for roughly
about three months. They have a certain skill set…. There’s also…
Do you hear something or is it just me? I think it’s our big cousins down the hall
coming to visit us! So what you’re hearing right now is a Life Lion
critical care helicopter. It’s literally landing right behind us and I hope
you can still hear us. But it’s landing right behind us at the landing pad which
is just outside the emergency department here at the Medical Center. So that’s
what you’re hearing right now is one of our Life Lion helicopters landing. An air
ambulance if you will and I think that sound will be subsiding here very
shortly. But yeah, so an interesting distinction there between the EMTs and
paramedics I know they have both of those on board the helicopter too and
should interesting. So the EMTs and paramedics again, the difference
is the EMTs basic life support. There’s also a new certification in the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania called advanced EMT. It’s kind of a bridge
between the EMT and the paramedic level. A paramedic program, paramedics will go
to school for roughly about a year and a half to two years. It’s pretty much an
associate’s degree level program it has more clinical time involved that they
get into more of Cardiology interpretation, advanced airway skills,
medication. And then furthermore is the critical care transport mode, i.e. the
helicopter which just landed. Our critical care transport team is staffed
with paramedics and also critical care nurses. And obviously, the nurse goes to
school for their amount of time so many years they get their nursing degree. Also,
to work on a critical care team they have to have a certain amount of years
experience in an ICU or in the emergency department at doing nursing level care
to get to that transport team level. A lot of different levels of care
available each cater to whatever the call in particular is all about makes
good sense. Like I was saying earlier, we welcome your questions for
Scott Buchle, he’s program manager of Penn State Health Life Lion EMS and we do
have a common here from Tim. He says, Thank You Penn State EMS. I have
intractable epilepsy and I’m blind. I appreciate your videos. I have a medical
alert bracelet and a vagus nerve stimulator card. Well, thank you, Tim.
Thanks a lot for your comment. We appreciate you tuning in for this video.
We appreciate everybody’s comments and questions. Feel free to leave
those in the comment field. Again, below this video. Can we talk a bit about
skills people might be able to learn at home so that they can help a friend or a
family member until help arrives? I’m thinking of things like, CPR. Absolutely.
CPR we recommend everybody can do CPR from pretty much any age group at this
point. Children, not really little kids but I know of some kids in the
eight-year-old range you have learned CPR done and successfully. We recommend
that for everybody. In addition to the CPR is basic first aid. How to control
bleeding, sudden bleeding, or severe bleeding which will help save a life
until EMS gets there. A lot of important skills there and
where can people learn those types of skills? I guess they could
probably contact, I know the Medical Center offers classes and that
type of thing from time to time but any advice for people on that? Yeah,
absolutely. You can pretty much find community CPR classes at various
locations. Local fire department, EMS services offer them, we offer them
through our resuscitation Sciences Institute here at the Penn State Hershey
Medical Center. Also, sometimes municipalities will offer
those as community courses and the other thing too is reach out to local
community colleges here in the Harrisburg area. We have Harrisburg Area
Community College for example, they offer community CPR courses as well. You can
contact the Red Cross the American Heart Association they can put you in touch
with local CPR classes they’re being held. Especially important to know those
skills perhaps if somebody in your home has special medical needs. And I’m
wondering also, is it important to register or at least notify crews in
advance before a call happens?Just to let them know that somebody has special
needs perhaps that they are on oxygen or have some sort of medical condition?
Again, prior to any call taking place. Just as an FYI. That is good
information to have. A lot of times and that’s something that used to be very
very prominent a long time ago before a majority of the state went to an
advanced 9-1-1 system. I’ll talk about that in a second. If you have a
medical condition, it is not a bad idea to give that information to your local
EMS provider. The challenge though is, if your local EMS service is tied up on
another call, the 9-1-1 center will dispatch the next neighboring
appropriate unit to your call. The 9-1-1 centers are very skilled at asking
information when a call comes in. So they’ll be quick to get that information.
The other thing too is that a lot of people, talking about the 9-1-1 system, a
lot of people think that when they call 9-1-1 there is a delay because the 9-1-1
operator is on the phone with them for a certain amount of time. They are asked as
they’re asking informations they’re typing it into the computer and they’re
sending it down the line to another dispatcher who’s actually talking to the
ambulance, police car, fire truck that’s coming to your house. So that dispatch
happens immediately even as they’re gathering additional information and
when it comes to that 9-1-1 call. Any other advice for people to
keep in mind when they’re calling 9-1-1? Some mistakes maybe people make. I know
one is, sometimes people hang up too .soon Absolutely. Pretty much in any area,
service by life Lion EMS and throughout all of central Pennsylvania, it’s an
advanced 9-1-1 system. So as soon as they pick up the phone, they pretty much can
see who the caller is and their information. There’s still some cellular
phone limitations out there that’s being worked through. It’s a lot better than
what it was but we do run into people who in a panic they will call and say
hey I need an ambulance and a hang-up. And then, the 9-1-1 dispatcher has to
call back and figure out what the end for me or what specifically is wrong to
send the most appropriate ambulance. So the big thing is to stay calm, have
patience with them and again, you know the dispatcher is gonna ask you several
questions. They’re gonna triage the call, they’re gonna send the most appropriate
unit and make sure that they have the right address.
You’re watching, Ask Us to Anything About… Emergency Medical Services from Penn
State Health. I’m Scott Gilbert alongside Scott Buchle, he’s program manager for
Penn State Health Life Lion EMS and he’s here to answer your questions as well as
mine. So feel free to leave those questions in the comment field below
this Facebook post even if you’re watching it after it’s live. If you’re
watching it on playback, we can still track down some answers for yo. You know, we
mentioned earlier Scott that September is National Preparedness Month and I
don’t want to let you go without the opportunity for you to share some tips
on how people can be prepared. I do know, that at www.PennStateHealthNews.org, our
online newsroom, the Medical Minute from last week shares some important
information, including some quotes from Scott Buchle and we’ll make sure we
share that quote with you. Or, the link to that rather in this Facebook post. But in addition to that any other important tips for preparation?
Especially as we see some of these disasters happening like floods and
hurricanes in other parts of the country? The big thing is to have a plan. Prepare
early and the one thing that we try to tell people too is in today’s day and
age I think people need to be self-sufficient for 48 to 72 hours. The
biggest thing is people don’t plan for for a disaster. Simple stuff like food
and water, batteries for flashlights. Everybody has a cellphone but what
happens if the power’s out for three days and now your cell phone battery
dies? So have a have a way to recharge your
cell phone. The other thing too is know your evacuation routes. Know if you have
to leave your home suddenly or your office, where are you going? Where would
you go to and then once you have that plan communicate that with your loved
ones and your family. One of the other challenges in a disaster is
reunification. Families get split up and then obviously the communication systems
are either stretched thin or damaged to the point that there’s no communications.
Now families have a very difficult time reuniting with each other. The biggest
piece of advice we give people in disaster situation is use your head and
don’t make a simple problem a big problem. I use flash flooding for as an
example. A lot of people think that if there’s a flooded road they can drive
right through it and that’s, you know, a simple solution of just turn
around and go the other way. But what happens is, they drive out in
the middle now the water is up to their windshield and Fire Department, EMS have
to come and we have to rescue you. Now you’re putting you know yourself at risk
obviously but also the rescuers are at risk as well. With the situations we see
down in Texas and down in Florida, people have to understand too that the
the first responder system is designed to handle a set number of emergencies in
any given community on an average day. All right, so there’s not an ambulance or
a fire truck or police car for every single citizen, should they need it all
at once. So that’s where we see challenges in a situation like down in
Florida and Texas where not everybody had you know there were people who were
waiting for a while for ambulances and you know, helped to get there
because the emergency responder system is so stretched thin that we were
backlogged in calls it takes hours and sometimes days to get to them. So that’s
where the self sufficiency comes in and be prepared for those emergencies. If you
have to relocate we go back to the medications. Have your medical
history with you your medications and so forth all written down so if you have to
go to a shelter, somebody there can help you get the medications you need and
help you with any type of medical care that you might need long-term. It’s all
very good advice. Especially because there’s we’re no strangers to flooding,
flash flooding, some winter storms, so as we head into the winter. I know it’s in
the 80s this week but soon it’s going to be snowing believe it or not and so it’s
always good to be to be mindful of those tips. It’s hot out here today but it’ll be cold in two weeks probably! I won’t be sweating like
this in two weeks. Exactly! And like I mentioned, we have a medical minute at www.PennStateHealthNews.org from just last week. So make sure you go online and check that
out for additional tips on how to prepare for an emergency, including how
to compile an emergency kit that you can keep in your home or car. Scott Buchle,
he is program manager for our Penn State Life Lion EMS. Thanks so much for your
time today. My pleasure. We really appreciate the information and again feel free to post
your questions if you have some that we didn’t answer. And thank you very much
for watching, Ask Us Anything About… Emergency Medical Services from Penn
State Health.

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