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From the November 2009 Issue | Friday, November 6, 2009


Responding in Pink

If you thought you saw a pink fire truck recently, you don_t need to switch to decaf. It was a part of the Pink Ribbon Tour organized by Glendale (Ariz.) Firefighter/EMT Dave Graybill.

It all started when a firefighter/EMT friend mentioned his department was going to wear pink shirts to show support for women with breast cancer. The next morning, Graybill expanded on that idea: He decided to cross the country in a pink fire truck. "It_s not just about cancer," he says. "It_s to honor all women on the planet."

He bought his first truck on eBay with a $13,000 check given to him by a woman in a Starbucks who heard his plan. The 2009 Pink Ribbon Tour made its first of about two dozen stops in North Las Vegas, where Captain Cedric Williams made arrangements to shut down the Vegas Strip for a procession of fire trucks with police escorts.

Graybill now has three pink trucks named after women who facilitated the tour. Firefighter/EMTs traveling with the trucks wear pink turnouts, donated by Globe Firefighter Suits. "I_d like see 100 pink trucks across the country and a ÂPink Heals_ fire station," says Graybill.

The money raised at stops stays in the community. Graybill and his fellow firefighter/EMTs are now accepting invitations for the 2010 tour. Learn more atwww.pinkribbontour.com.

An Ounce of Prevention

MedStar EMS in Fort Worth, Texas, has started a house call pilot program to cut down on "habitual clients" like the 21 patients responsible for 812 transports in 2008. One patient took 127 trips to the emergency department in one year.

To relieve the stress on the crews, community health paramedics are making house calls to enrolled patients. The calls may be to check a diabetic patient_s blood sugar at 6 p.m. to decrease the possibility of a 2 a.m. distress call, says Matt Zavadsky, associate director of field operations for MedStar. Other habitual clients have psycho-social issues, so a friendly face dropping by for a few minutes may also forestall a 9-1-1 call. "The plan is to send the right resource to the patient at the right time," says Zavadsky.

The community health paramedics respond in fly cars and are trained in crisis and psychiatric intervention. They also perform advanced assessments and detailed physicals and take comprehensive histories.

Zavadsky says the program will cost $500,000, but if it will cut back on the $750,000 not paid by habitual clients, it will be a good investment. We agree.

Over-Reliance on Technology

In September, a Maryland ambulance was lost for 48 minutes while en route to a call at a senior citizen_s center. News reports state the crew was using a GPS device that couldn_t find the address of the center, and they still couldn_t find it despite receiving instructions from an engine crew that had been to the address earlier. Luckily, the patient_s life was not in jeopardy, and a second ambulance transported the patient. According to an article posted on JEMS.com, spokesman Mark Brady told STATter911.com that it was "totally unacceptable."

We, like the majority of the JEMS Connect members who commented on the story, think that this will be a bigger issue as we become even more reliant on technology. Every agency should consider providing its crews with a professional public-safety-grade computer navigation system and good old-fashioned maps, as well as training on how to use both.JEMS

Join the discussion athttp://connect.jems.com/forum/topics/overreliance-on-technology




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