I came to work the other day and saw a chilling site in the parking lot. Ambulance 911 — the ambulance that was assigned to me for many years when I worked the 5:30-17:30 shift, the ambulance that had been my EMS home — sat battered and wrecked in a line with other battered and wrecked ambulance and fly cars in our lot that at times seems like an emergency vehicle repair/burial yard. It sent a chill through me. (Fortunately, I found out the crew involved in the rollover accident was okay.)
EMS work is not safe. I know coworkers who wear bulletproof vests; others are meticulous in their infection control habits, always gloving and gowning up and washing their hands thoroughly. But if you really want to protect yourself in EMS, you should be wearing a crash helmet and a St. Christopher cross around your neck.
Here is a post I wrote back in 2006, describing an incident where I almost died. In the years since, I have had other close calls, but still nothing significant as far as ambulance safety or dispatch protocols has changed. We still travel lights and sirens too much, both to calls and from the scene to the hospital. Please be safe out there.
I Almost Died Today