When I joined the fire service, there wasn't a whole lot I could do. I was too young to be interior or an EMT. When I started going on calls, my role was soon realized. I was an extra pair of hands, my job was to get whatever the EMT in charge needed. And it changed every call. Sometimes I would be sent to get our trauma bag, or our backboard. Sometimes I was sent out to wait for the ambulance, and show them where to go.
Over time, I started to spend more time in the house with the EMTs and the patient, as I started to get older and knew more. And I got a new role, one that is talked about a lot. But not always seen actually being done.
I was the extra pair of eyes. I paid attention to what was around us, and what was going on. And just watching to make sure we were safe. I started to notice things that others didn't, it started with small things. Like talking about how beautiful the cat was that had been there, and my partners would respond "What cat?" or "There was a cat?" And I would tell them about the cat.
Then one time, we were at a call for a sick patient, general illness. Afterwards as we got in our truck I turned to my partners and asked "So, did you see the knife?" They both looked at me shocked asking me "What knife?" On the table that had been next to us the whole call, had been a large kitchen knife just sitting there in the open. I was the only one who saw it. Once I saw it early on in the call, I kept my eye on it and made sure no one went near it.
Since then, we have been on a few more calls where I found a knife laying there, and my partners never noticed them. Or other things laying around that could be dangerous to us, or could be hints to what was going on. Or a couple times, the other person who has been in the room but had been quiet.
Even now, I make it a habit when I go on scene to ALWAYS be looking around at the possible hazards. Even if it is a house we have been to 50 times with a patient that I have known my whole life, I still check for the knife that might be sitting there waiting for us. Always. No matter what is going on, I look around.
This is a role that is NEEDED on EVERY call. We always need someone to be watching out, and paying attention. Because if we don't have someone watching our back, and what is going on. We could get killed. The risk is too high to ignore this role.
So please everyone, pay attention. Find those knifes or guns that are just laying there, and point them out. Help your partners see the risks laying there, and make it a habit to always look around before doing anything else. Remember OUR safety comes first, and if it doesn't feel right, or you feel threatened. Leave. We are more important.
So, did you see the knife?