Our national emergency response system at the local levels is now at the historic peak of technological and personnel performance. In every way from our first call to 911 to the lifesaving services of fire and ambulance personnel, we hope we never need their help but many of us have and will call for their help.
This system of emergency services is a complex team of highly trained "technicians" that depend on high tech equipment in a closely knit set of operations. This emergency system works through efficient communication starting at the public level with the 911 system. Everyone should be familiar with the importance and seriousness of the 911 call.
This great set of services from the 911 dispatchers to fire and ambulance departments as well as Police continues for each call through to hospitals as well as bringing in additional agencies and departments both private and public.
Unfortunately, emergency services may be at a crossroads of too much complexity in terms of communication, interdependence, and manageability. There's more than just the action on the ground helping the public that makes these services both possible and in some ways overburdened. There are lawyers, accountants, insurance agencies, as well as the equipment companies which are all involved in some ways with every emergency call.
Each emergency responder depends on their equipment and must constantly be up to date with changes in their specialty. Rules, techniques, and laws are always subject to change.
With this complexity and change comes a high price tag for most communities. We may have reached some limits with these costs while at the same time dealing with competing infrastructure and other public services demands.
There may come a time when at the same time communities, counties and states reach budget limits and major disaster strikes bringing the whole system to a crisis.
Let's look at some of these current issues.
STRETCHED 911 UNIVERSAL EMERGENCY TOOL
Technological innovation is a critical tool in all areas of our society. In one area the difference it makes can save your life, call this a Life-Saving TOOL. Since the start in 1957, we have educated the public to the correct use of the evolving 911 system. Everyone is taught that “in an emergency, call 911.” Yes, the life threatening situation is the time to use the 911 system.
Now we have the additional extension and commercialization of the 911 tool. The 911 system is always open to ever more emergency response agencies. Next, add the increasing private commercial systems (ON-STAR, Personal Pendants, automatic and manually operated remote access devices). They all require their own maintenance and upgrades and can malfunction.
In addition to the basic 911 system and its various improvements and upgrades there are all the extra services with their complications which can bog the whole system down, particularly when there is a major crisis or disaster. With a major storm or fire, for instance, the 911 system is inundated with false alarms caused by faulty communication. Then there are blackouts with alarms going off and on with online resets.
Those efficient responses have been complicated by citizens and businesses not maintaining their home, car or personal devices. This is an overburdened system waiting for large scale emergencies to break things down just when they're most needed.
WHAT ABOUT BUDGETS
Running local Emergency Response agencies is complicated by lifesaving technology costs!
Emergency agencies and their municipalities are very often underfunded for systems maintenance, new equipment and insurance requirements. Local, Regional, State and Federal emergency response budgets may not be in accordance with mandated system upgrades (including technicians backing the malfunctioning systems, and installation. Then there is the constantly updated training for system operation, education of each responders’ certification, annual re-certification). Finally, there are cutbacks in funding while all these items increase in computer electronics technicality and price tag. Oftentimes, funding reductions arrive when Federal Grants period funding is not re-authorized by the governmental agencies.
If all of the above does not complicate emergency response systems enough, there is a presidential mandate of returning what was funded by the government and now must be picked up by each state. Note that the majority of our states are already in deficit mode and will never make up the overdue burden that face their taxpayers.
Finding time and money to continuously meet the increasing certification and re-certifications for the mandated equipment adds insult to injury. Not only does this increase response personnel volunteering hours, but all the new equipment requires specialized personnel who are certified to perform the repairs on a regularly scheduled basis.
Often, a special “outside agency” must be hired to keep the newly acquired, mandated or just existing equipment “certified” or your agency will judged not in compliance.
If an accident happens, OSHA will review “from soup to nuts” standard operating guidelines, pictures taken at the fire, EMS scene; everything is a potential fine or large legal matter.
A prime example is with a burst hose resulting in an personal injury. Questions may
arise as to who, where, when was the hose or hoses tested? Was that person “in certification and approved” to test the hose?
Did the (example firefighter) have on the correct turnout gear? Was it in specification to industry standards (Federal, State or Agency) and were the standard operating guidelines followed.
Each infraction costs a fine to the responding agency. If it is a liable incident, your board members (volunteer or paid) could ultimately be included in a lawsuit.
That is a small list of problems we face as emergency response personnel.
Be this simple tasks, prime response incidents or to the actual annual pump or hose testing. Yes, volunteering as a firefighter is more than just squirting water!
As an Emergency Medical Technician or their AGENCY the problems become more complex as the revisions to standards, day to day responses, reports are all legal documents.
Did you perform in accordance with Federal, then State and lastly Agency standards?
Yes, Volunteering is one of the most honorable things anyone can give back to their community.
The above examples are given to show that responsibility goes from the base responder, line officers, Board members all responsibilities have exponentially increased.
All situations require paperwork! Dispatch times, Vehicle response (in service, responding, on-scene, released from scene, back in service “restocked and ready for
the next call” takes volunteers or paid personnel that know how to place a response vehicle back into service. Above all, was that dispatch and run reported in a timely manner?
The last example is when a state inspector pulls an Ambulance or Fire response apparatus “unannounced” to the side of the road for a spot inspection.
Was your ambulance a certified ALS or BLS State “certified” vehicle?
Did they perform a visual or detailed inspection to “Federal, State Standards”?
HIGH TECH AND GRID FAILURE
Yes, technology can make our response efficient, shorten the response time and all seems well until our worst nightmare happens. What is the event? Electrical Grid Failure.
What happens when all the devices you rely upon become inoperable?
Many response agencies, board members, officers will say “if that happens, the county will tell us what to do”. In a large scale disaster, very often it's best to be prepared to fend for yourself and family. After that, help others.
ARE YOU Prepared? Have you been INFORMED of the pending disruption?
All Federal, State, Emergency Management Region offices and your local emergency response agencies realize that with 100% certainty, this Grid Disruption event will play out until panic and chaos take over. The cascading events lead to total unrest.
WHEN? Today, Tomorrow, Year 2030 or right …NOW…….?
Will you have the basic training to know what to do to deal with the situation?
AVAILABLE EMERGENCY RESPONSE EDUCATION
Become Awareness Educated!
Our “SOLUTION” was to establish a Fire Prevention and Life Safety Survival “Awareness” Education program right here online with 911moves.com. You'll earn many of the survival techniques with these lessons and in cooperation with your local Emergency Response agencies.
You'll find the educational material you and your family need right here at 911moves.com!
When you go to the TOOLBOX page on this website check the M Series from M1 to M12, there's a section for each member of your family and friends.
This material has been selected at a basic knowledge level by trained volunteers and paid emergency response personnel.
Each educational module has a short introduction video starring our own Frank Palmer describing the various levels for each age group.
As emergency response personnel, we feel the need to alert others to the basic education which could save lives.
We urge you to carefully and review this material with your family to become PREPARED with Fire Prevention and Life Safety Survival “Awareness”.
IT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE.
Frank Palmer - Associate Director of the http://www.911moves.com Awareness Education Programs
While the car above looks like a terrible wreck it is actually the tool for volunteer students to learn extrication of victims of car accidents. There are methods for properly extricating children and adults from accident vehicles so that no further injuries occur to victims or fire department volunteers. There are many details to be familiar with to do extrication safely.