The Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District staff and volunteers that are responding to emergency calls from our community initiate their actions from a series of information they receive. Each call for service has its own set of unique information that is needed for us to arrive and provide the needed assistance.
First is the initial call to 911, and the important data that the dispatcher will ask for so they properly get us out the door. Next would be the house number on your home so the responders can find the right place.
Outside of those initial items, every call is somewhat different. Please remember that the responders are here to help and even though most of them love animals, PLEASE, if possible, put your pets in a separate room. Almost all of the animals we encounter are nice and loving but they don’t always understand what we are doing to their loved one and at the most inopportune moment will become a hazard at the scene.
Medical information can sometimes be lengthy with long health histories and or long medication lists. The district has yellow medical cards that can help organize and sort the information in a way that the crews can easily understand. Fill these out and stick them on the refrigerator that way if we show up to help someone that is by themselves we can find the information and accelerate the process of providing the care needed.
The two big things I want to touch on are Advance Medical Directives and Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders.
What is an advance directive?
An Advance Directive is a legal document. It tells your doctor and family what kind of medical care you want to have if you can’t tell them yourself. This could happen if you:
• Are in a coma
• Are seriously injured
• Are terminally ill
• Have severe dementia
A good Advance Directive describes the kind of treatment you would want, depending on how sick you are. It could describe what kind of care you want if you have an illness that you are unlikely to recover from. It could also describe the care you want if you are permanently unconscious. Advance Directives usually tell your doctor that you don’t want certain kinds of treatment. They can also say that you want a certain treatment no matter how ill you are.
What is a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order
A Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Order can also be part of an Advance Directive. Hospital staff try to help any patient whose heart has stopped or who has stopped breathing. They do this with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A DNR is a request not to have CPR if your heart stops or if you stop breathing. You can use an Advance Directive form or tell your doctor that you don’t want to be resuscitated. Your doctor will put the DNR Order in your medical chart. Doctors and hospitals in all states accept DNR Orders. They do not have to be part of a living will or other Advance Directive.
Over the years we have responded to calls where the patient is not completely coherent and family members or care takers explain the wants of the patient. Unless they have a signed set of documents from their doctor, it is out of our hands. The first responders have a duty to act to each level of medical training that they are certified in, and with that must follow the protocols for treatment that is deemed necessary.
If you have not already done so, please consider creating an Advanced Directive or DNR for yourself if you have specific care you would like or not want in the case of a medical emergency.
An Advanced Directive form can be found at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/about/pages/adac-forms.aspx . In order to create a DNR contact your physician.