EMS response: How to prepare for anything

Proper EMS response requires that all equipment, clothing, safety gear and supplies are in their proper place, in good condition and ready to go at a moment’s notice


One of the most important aspects of EMS response is preparedness before the dispatch call. EMTs and paramedics must have their gear ready to go at all times during their shift because a call can come in the middle of the night when they're sound asleep, during meals or when they're cleaning their vehicle from the last call.

All equipment, clothing, safety gear and supplies must be in their proper place, in good condition and ready to go at a moment's notice. As EMS professionals know, the loss of a minute's time due to disorganization can make the difference between life and death for a patient in an emergency situation.

Preparation also occurs en route to the call. This part of EMS response preparation means gathering as much pertinent information as possible from the 911 dispatcher on the way to the scene.

Location of emergency, type of emergency, number of patients, number of people on the scene, safety hazards such as toxic substances, heavy traffic, ice, flooding, fire and potentially violent situations should also be noted.

Other pertinent information includes the medical history of the patient and any medications or treatments that have been administered, such as CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Any knowledge that a responder gathers during the ride to the scene helps administer the proper treatment more quickly and effectively.

Based on the information relayed by the dispatcher, proper EMS response means that the crew should also gather any supplies that will be needed on the scene in order to exit the vehicle quickly and respond to the emergency. Crews can also prepare by gathering and putting on any protective gear necessary to ensure operational safety.

After the call has been handled, it is time to prepare for the next EMS response.

All equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Any supplies that need to be replaced should be restocked in the emergency vehicle. The vehicle should be refueled and checked to ensure road readiness for response. Any reports or paperwork from the last call should be properly filled out and placed.

And finally, the 911 dispatch should be notified that the EMS crew is ready for the next call.

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