Social Media Policy
At the end of March and beginning of April, several Fire Department of New York (FDNY) EMTs were disciplined for sending racist, sexist tweets as well as posting photos of clearly identifiable patients onto Facebook and Tumblr.
It’s a shame this was all revealed publicly on the sensationalized pages of The New York Post, causing embarrassment for the department and EMTs involved. This incident should be a reminder to everyone to think about what they say and do online.
FDNY did the right thing by taking appropriate disciplinary action, and we’re happy to hear that the agency is currently drafting a social media policy to avoid incidents like this in the future. Better late than never.
In Chula Vista, Calif., 15-year-old Doyin Oladipupo called 9-1-1 and hid in the closet after intruders burst into her house. She nervously explained the situation to 12-year veteran police dispatcher Angie Rivera, who sent police support.
As the intruders got closer to Oladipupo’s hiding place, Rivera told her, “Don’t talk.” Instead, she had her answer “yes” or “no” to her questions by tapping on the phone.
“Somewhere, something hit me to just keep her quiet, keep me quiet,” Rivera later told ABC News. “I tried to whisper and then the tapping on the phone came in.”
Another instance of dispatchers thinking quick on their feet was recently seen in Washington, when Wahkiakum County dispatcher Raedyn Grasseth got a call about a 45-year-old woman who was hanging onto a log piling Sunday afternoon after her kayak sank in swift currents near a jetty on the Columbia River.
Grasseth notified the sheriff's office, but then realized that her mother, who is a kayaker, and other members of her family lived nearby and could get there quicker. “I knew they could be there within five to 10 minutes,” Grasseth told The Daily News.
And they did. The dispatcher’s mother and other family members piled into a kayak and a skiff and paddled out, rescued the woman and brought her safely ashore. The wet and shaken woman didn’t require medical attention.
We applaud both dispatchers for thinking outside the box in their missions to save lives. Rivera and Grasseth are shining examples of how dispatchers have an integral role in emergency response. Dispatchers rarely get thanked, and so we also thank them—and all emergency dispatchers—for their service.
Ireland’s Resuscitation Success
The number of people surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Ireland has risen from only 1% in 2005 to 6.5% in 2012, thanks to a greater effort to teach CPR to regular citizens.
The National First Responders Campaign, created by the Irish Heart Foundation, Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council, the National Ambulance Service and other organizations, began in 2005 when survival rates were abysmally low. A course was offered to the community, teaching basic resuscitation techniques, choking relief for all ages and how to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
The program now teaches 65,000 people annually in Ireland alone, even though integrating the class into school systems has been discontinued. There are hopes to return it to the curriculum soon.
The country’s officials also hope to further increase survival rates by establishing a registry of AEDs. “Once we know exactly where defibrillators are based we hope to link them to the ambulance services so that lay rescuers can be contacted to take them directly to the victim,” says Mary Hannon, resuscitation training officer at the Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown in Dublin. She added that the registry would make it easier to control scheduled maintenance of the devices.
We congratulate Ireland’s National First Responders Campaign for its successful efforts to train civilians in CPR and the use of AEDs. We hope other countries will take note and use Ireland’s model as an example they can emulate.