Joe Collins is a fire fighter and EMT for the Eldridge Volunteer Fire department based out of Eldridge Iowa. I first met him on the Crime Scene Writers loop where he is a valued resource answering our questions about ambulance/EMT and firefighter procedures and the daily hazards they face. In addition to running into burning buildings when everyone else is running out, and playing on the highway when someone has a car wreck, Joe’s hobbies include SCUBA diving and shooting fireworks. (For more information on Joe, and a sneak peek at some of the some of his works in progress, visit his website here.)
When I started up this feature, Joe was one of the first people I thought of. So for this month’s column I asked “Joe, what do you see people doing that end up in ambulance being called that you could prevent?”
His reply to what people shouldn’t be doing?
“At a crash scene, getting everyone out of the car despite their injuries. Leave them for the pros to pull out. There are all sorts of nasty things at a car wreck that most people don’t realize. This is from someone who recently had to explain why a deputy needed six stitches after being on a car wreck. I was in my paramedic uniform while they were cutting this poor guy out of a rolled over truck, and while I didn’t have bunker gear, I at least knew where to stand and he didn’t.
Your car is the best place to be in a wreck. Playing on the highway kills a lot of professionals, much less amateurs.
BTW, they are called car wrecks, not accidents. If a tornado hit your car, then it’s an accident. If you drive into a bridge abutment, that’s a car wreck.”
He had a few other words of advice too.
“If it wasn’t for alcohol and stupid people, this job would be were I could help people rather than pick up after their car wrecks and falls.
Wear your seatbelt, bike helmet, etc. and whatever protective gear is appropriate for the situation. Trauma is what kills us before old age gets to us. Anything you can do to prevent that will help you from meeting me in some dark alley or ditch. Don’t drink and drive, do drugs, etc.
If you do have medications, please take them as they are prescribed for a reason. Ditch the cable TV if needed so you can get them. There are some medications that if you stop taking them suddenly, will kill you. And it won’t be much fun for me either.”