It is no secret that EMTs, Paramedics and Firefighters work long hours. Four days on and four days off is a common schedule. The four working days can be difficult without proper planning. You never know what you will come back to after your â€œfour off.â€
Iâ€™ve perfected my first day back routine to make certain that my shift goes as smoothly as possible.Â It is imperative that I follow my own rigid system. I am, after all, in charge of an Advanced Life Support vehicle in a busy urban fire department; nothing can be left to chance. First things first…
If the apparatus is in the bay:
Patients vomit, urinate, shit themselves and bleed on everything.Â Thatâ€™s okay, it comes with the territory. The night shiftâ€™s feet, farts, body odor and assorted fast food wrappers and spillage are the true Haz-Mat concern, and the residue must be addressed before occupying the rescue vehicle. Standard operating procedures need to be deployed:
1) Open all doors to allow previous shiftâ€™s â€œaromaâ€ to dissipate
2) Activate ventilation vans front and back
3) Thoroughly spray cab area with disinfectant
4) Use of PPE (personal protective equipment) strongly recommended during decon
If the apparatus is not in the bay:
Fantastic, the night crew is on a run; proceed to quarters and begin the nap cycle.
1) Remove â€œ70â€™s Disco Hits” CD from slot
2) Reprogram pre-set stations from Easy Listening and Sports Talk to Rock, Hard Rock, Harder Rock, Rock Hard Rock and Country (for those moments you forgot you have a heart)
3) Adjust volume and settings accordingly. Bust it, when your song comes on.
The Drug Box
With a long shift ahead the proper medications are imperative.
Still there; revert to inactive status until tour is over
The rest of the routine is here…