Industry News, Operations

Who is Rescuing the Rescuer?

Fallon Ambulance Service has joined the 9-1-1-Public Safety Fire and Police agencies of Brookline, Dedham, Milton and Weymouth to create and expand the military’s “Self-Care/ Buddy-Aid” program to provide rapid care for First Responders exposed to hazards such as Fentanyl while responding to emergencies in their communities.

Problem: Every day Public Safety agencies encounter numerous dangers. From hazardous materials to infectious biohazards, the first responders are responding to unsafe scenes to save the public. The risk of a fatal incident being suffered by a police officer or firefighter is three times greater than for all other workers . Each year from 2009-2014, an average of 30,990 police officers were involved in a non-fatal injury or illness requiring days away from work. Firefighters suffered an average of 14,700 non-fatal injuries and illnesses resulting in time spent away from work. Today’s public safety landscape has evolved to become more treacherous by introducing Carfentanil, active shooters, improvised-terrorism devices, and carcinogenic materials. Unfortunately avoiding every hazard is impossible, but being prepared with the correct medications, hemorrhage-control devices, decontaminates and protective gear when an incident occurs will provide assistance in the rescuing of oneself or a buddy in an active scene.

Solution: Quick initiation of treatment and reducing the exposure to a hazard is now available. Fallon Ambulance Service will begin issuing Self-Aid-Buddy Aide (SABA) Care Kits to the Public Safety agencies and its own first-line responders in the communities of Brookline, Dedham, Milton and Weymouth. The SABA is for First Responders to have emergency care remedies for deadly-unexpected hazard(s) that may present during their normal work day. Placing the SABA on each in-service fire engine, police cruiser, ambulance and each of the agencies Command vehicles, will ensure the SABA is in a prompt-accessible location any incident in the community. Adopting and mirroring the military’s “Self-Aid/ Buddy-Aid” program, the SABA contains medications, protective equipment, hemorrhage control devices and hazardous material cleaning wipes for the first responders to utilize.

An increase in opioid incidences is beginning to introduce more potent drugs being used. One known drug is Carfentanil, which is 100 times more potent than Fentanyl. Carfentanil is easily absorbed through skin and the respiratory track. Care for a First Responder exposed to Carfentanil requires the opioid-reversing agent of Narcan to be administered immediately. The SABA contains extra doses of Narcan for the First Responders personal use. The Narcan can be self-administered or easily administered by non-exposed personnel. The protective gear contained within the SABA will lessen their exposure by including: coveralls for the boots/shoes to reduce cross-contamination and N-95 small-particular masks to minimize an airborne exposure. Though opioid use and exposures are increasing, other daily hazards such as trauma exist for First Responders.

Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes; unfortunately terrorism is the first to come into mind. From active-shooting events to make-shift bombs, it’s difficult to be “at the ready” to protect yourself, when you are working to assist others. Studies show up to 50% of combat fatalities and 80% of civilian trauma fatalities are due to uncontrolled hemorrhaging from a limb . Yet traumas can easily occur to First Responders through non-violent acts. Everyday motor vehicle crash extrications to construction site accidents can place First Responders in harm’s way and they can become victims themselves. The addition of Combat Application Tourniquets (CAT) in the SABA will provide rapid access to life saving measures. Following the Department of Homeland Security’s “Stop the Bleed” campaign, First Responders will be at the ready and be more able to pack the wounds and control the bleeding. As with all of the SABA gear, the tourniquets are designed to assist each First Responder to use on themselves, as well as on their peers. Trauma can also be described as an exposure to chemicals and particulates around the scene of an emergency.

The scene of a fire or hazardous materials accident can expose any of the three different public safety agencies (Fire, Police, and EMS) to numerous chemicals and potential carcinogens. The smoke and soot from a fire contain toxic materials as well as dozens of chemicals. The increased use of synthetic material has resulted in fires and smoke becoming more toxic. The protective gear worn by firefighters does not seal. Thus skin may become exposed to the gaps between articles of protection. The police officers and EMS providers at the same scene lack the same protective gear as the firefighters. The SABA will assist with every agency’s personnel to provide gross decontamination at the scene. Each SABA contains special wipes to remove containments and debris that a First Responder’s skin may become exposed to. Through a quick procedure completed at the scene, the wipes contained in the SABA kit will decrease the time exposed to harmful and possible carcinogen debris.

Conclusion: The SABA will be readily available throughout the First Responder agencies that Fallon Ambulance contracts with (the towns of Brookline, Dedham, Milton and Weymouth). The Self Aid Buddy Aid Kit will offer the First Responding Fire, Police and EMS providers an extra layer of protection and care when the emergency becomes their own.

(Clarke & Zak, 1999)
(Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities, 2017)
(Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities, 2017)
(Sauaia, et al., 1995)

About Fallon Ambulance Service: Fallon Ambulance is the largest privately owned and operated ambulance service in the Northeast. Fallon Ambulance employs more than 650 personnel, operates more than 150 vehicles and responds to over 160,000 emergency and non-emergency calls per year. Fallon Ambulance is the 9-1-1 provider for the municipalities of Milton, Brookline, Weymouth, and Dedham and provides primary backup to Boston and Randolph. Fallon Ambulance Service additionally provides medical transportation for a number of area medical facilities including nursing homes, hospitals, and HMOs throughout Greater Boston, the South Shore and Metro West region. It is headquartered at 111-115 Brook Road, Quincy, MA and operates satellite offices throughout its coverage area. Fallon Ambulance Service has been recognized many times by various business and community organizations for its exceptional service. Fallon Ambulance Service was founded in 1923 by James R. Fallon. Today, Timothy J. Fallon, grandson to the founder, serves as President and CEO. The fourth generation represented by 7 great grandchildren of the founder is working in various capacities in the organization. For additional information about Fallon Ambulance Services or programs that the company offers, contact Peter Racicot, Senior Vice President, at (617) 745-2117 or visit www.fallonambulance.com.