Live from the Hive – An Interview with William J P Smith
Post by: Wendi Pickford
In addition to our blogs, we have started a new series called “Live from the Hive”. This will include interviews with people with varying preparedness backgrounds and stories. Our first interview is with one of our founding contributors, William J P Smith who worked as an Emergency Medical Technician. During our interview, he discussed ensuring you and your home are prepared if you need to call 911.
You have been a first responder wearing many different hats. Tell us about your career as an EMT.
I became an Emergency Medical Technician in 1996 while working as a firefighter for Tonopah Valley Fire Department (later became Fire District). As an EMT I was able to use my skills with the various agencies I worked for. One of the things I enjoyed the most was each day at work was always different. One medical call would be a child with a sprained ankle, the next one you get is a vehicle accident with multiple patients. So it could be very challenging at times.
What made you decide to pursue the role of an EMT?
With the many first responder hats that I have worn, I continued my career as an EMT with Southwest Ambulance. This allowed me to continue to serve my community and spend more time with my family. I had several assignments with Southwest Ambulance, including emergency medical services, sporting events (my favorite was working NASCAR) and inter-facility transportation. Being an EMT isn’t always about saving lives. It’s helping people on what is probably one of the worst days of their lives and doing what I can to make it better.
You have a time-sensitive job once you enter a house on a call. What types of things can we do to prepare for you to come in?
One of the most important things people can do is have a list containing their past medical history, allergies, and any medications that they are taking, including what each one is prescribed for. Paramedics and doctors need to know this information before they can give you certain medications. The best place to put this list is in your purse or wallet.
Another thing that people can do is keep their homes free of clutter. If the rooms and hallways have things like boxes, toys and clothes on the floor, it can make it difficult to gain access to a patient.
Tell me about a time you had problems because a house wasn’t prepared.
There was one time we had a patient that was living in pack rat conditions. There was a lot of clothes and boxes on the floor of the bedroom, making it difficult to treat the patient. We were not able to get the gurney down the hallway due to all of the clutter which required us to carry the patient. This caused a significant delay in transporting our patient to the hospital.
Anything else you would like to add?
When people call 911, they should always confirm their address with the dispatcher to make sure they have the right one. Also, if there any dogs in the house, make sure they are put in a room or outside where they are away from the patient. This will make it easier for the paramedics & EMT’s to treat the patient.
Thank you William for our interview!
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