Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mommy, What is Mutual Aid?

Well Pee Wee, back in the olden age of EMS, Mutual Aid agreements were a way of assuring coverage to your EMS service area during those times when demand suddenly exceeded supply. Kind of a You watch my back and I'll watch Yours thing. Today- well today a lot of services abuse the mutual aid concept by using it to cover their area- period. It's a way for the chiefs to hold onto their fiefdoms, a way for these miserable hell- hole services to stay operative after they have run off their own paid staff.

Some examples from my immediate area:
  • The busy service to our east has no staff most days between 1800 and 0600- none, nobody
  • The volunteer fire department run EMS service to our south-east regularly shuts down week- end nights. Lights out kids- don't get sick till morning...
  • The service to our north "holds" calls- today they sat on a diabetic emergency for 37 minutes
  • My agency routinely responds through two other service areas to take calls in third- that can't or won't staff their ambulances
So what's the reason for this? Bottom line it's bad management. Pardon, you in the back... the paramedic shortage... you're asking if this isn't caused by the paramedic shortage? Could be, but the paramedic shortage is due to poor management... Right?


The video very briefly illustrates what bad EMS management looks like...


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