There are many things that I will never understand in this world. Quantum entanglement. Man’s inhumanity to man. Why people buy Jeeps. However, most perplexing amongst life’s mysteries, is why it is so damn hard to give a SitRep. One of my roles is to sit in the communication centre, doing various things; fielding requests for HEMS is a big part of it. But before we put the lives of pilots, crewmen and paramedics at risk, not to mention spend possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars, we need to know that it is justified. To determine this, we need to know what is going on. To know what is going on, we need a SitRep from the crew on scene. (HEMS will sometimes go as the primary response but generally a road resource is on scene first)
Now, those of us working in the comms centres are ambos too. We know that you are busy. We know that scenes can become overwhelming. But the things is, we want to help. We genuinely do. We want to send you all the resources you need. We will send you extra cars, team managers, MICA, helicopters, planes, surgical teams, whatever. But before we can commit resources to you, we need to know why.
This doesn’t need to take long. We don’t need to know the full history of the patient. We basically need to know why you think you need the helicopter (or whatever else it is you want). So have a think about what benefit having such a resource come to you will provide the patient and let us know. If you tell us that you want the helicopter for a person who fell off a horse and then go silent, you won’t get one. If you tell us you want the helicopter for a person with a head injury and a GCS of 8, we’re in business. It shouldn’t take long to work out how sick a patient is, so we generally give crews 10 minutes or so before paging them and asking how they are going. Please don’t take this as Big Brother trying to keep tabs on you. It is Big Brother trying to help you.
So: be clear in what you want and why, get on the radio early and let us know and we can have the cavalry coming swooping in to save the day in no time. Communicate well and the world is your scallop. Or something.