Miranda Bothwell, the EMS community relations, and communications officer for Middlesex – London talked about emergency preparedness for EMS events.  Miranda described what happens when someone calls 911 and the actions one can take to increase EMS effectiveness if we must call.
When the call is made to 911 it is routed to a central dispatch who in turn routes the call to fire, police or EMS depending on the situation.
Once EMS is handed the call the dispatcher will ask several questions to diagnose the problem and alert the ambulance crew about what to expect.
If no one meets them when they arrive at the location EMS must gain access to the person requesting help.  If there is a keyless lock, they need to know the access code.  The code can be registered with EMS in advance with EMS and it is kept in a secure database.  If there is a key lock EMS must find the key.  (Miranda suggested a lock box) Lock box codes can also be registered with EMS.  If they are unable to find a key, they will call the police to break the door open.  However, this will leave the premises open if the person needing help must be taken to the hospital.
Once EMS gains access they need to diagnose the problem.  A “cool card” listing medications, medical history, important contacts, and other important information placed in an obvious location increases their ability to respond if the caller is nonresponsive.  Some people want to DNR order listed with their medical information, but EMS can only comply if the DNR is on an official form signed by the individual and a doctor.
If the individual must be transported to the hospital it is important that things such as medicines, wallet, glasses, emergency contact list go along. 
Once at the hospital, EMS continues to attend” the patient” until they are under the care of a doctor or officially their care is taken over by the hospital.
The important take aways from Miranda’s talk are:
  1. Plan for how EMS can gain access to one’s location by registering code to keyless locks or locks boxes.
  2. Get and complete a “Cool Card.”
  3. Get and complete a DND if that one’s wish.
  4. Place information about the location of medicines etc. in a spot EMS can find it.