One of the biggest problems facing first responders in Boulder City is the unknown. Too often we are dispatched to a residence for a patient who is unconscious and unresponsive. As paramedics, this becomes a job similar to being a detective.
There are thousands of reasons why someone would become unconscious or unresponsive. Some, such as diabetes, trauma or seizures, are very easily detected using observation skills and field tests. Other complications such as cancer, heart problems and lung diseases are not so easily detected. This delays care for the patient until we can identify the underlying problems and address them accordingly.
We, as paramedics and first responders, spend many hours every year maintaining our certifications to provide the best possible care for our citizens. We stay up to date on the ever-evolving protocols and regulations as well as the newest and cutting edge ways to provide the best possible care we can offer.
To help provide the best possible care for our citizens the fire department is rolling out the File of Life program.
The program, offered free of charge, features a card for you to fill out, plastic sleeve and magnet that you can put on your refrigerator. So how does this card help the fire department? It has your medical history that would assist paramedics and first responders in helping bridge the gap between the unknown and your underlying medical issues.
It has places to list your name, emergency contact, physician(s), past medical problems, current medications, allergies to foods and prescriptions, any previous surgeries and your insurance information.
Information provided in the File of Life could prove to be, at a minimum, time-saving and ultimately life-saving.
You are encouraged to have a File of Life for yourself and anyone living in your residence. The fire department encourages you to fill out the card entirely and to place the File of Life in its magnet sleeve on your refrigerator. The firefighters are being trained to look for this magnet in this specific location to aid in the live-saving measures you may possibly need.
These magnets are free of charge and are available for pickup at several locations, including the fire department, 1101 Elm St.; police department, 1005 Arizona St.; Senior Center of Boulder City, 813 Arizona St., and the city’s recreation center, 900 Arizona St.
The fire department also will have them when they go out on rescues to pass out to those people who need them.
If you or someone you know could benefit from this program, please take the time to pick up a File of Life and help us help you.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at the fire station at 702-293-9228 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Shea is a Boulder City paramedic/firefighter.