June 26, 2018

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Off-Duty and Good Samaritans

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Fire & Rescue

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s tip is for firefighters and EMTs and it deals with providing emergency care while you are off-duty.  

I know that you’re probably going to help–even if you are off-duty. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be in this profession.

You may encounter situations where your training and experience could help someone in need. I’m sure many of you have already experienced this. Maybe you’ve happened upon a car crash or been on an airplane when someone became seriously ill.   

I know that you’re probably going to help–even if you are off-duty and even if it’s not required. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be in this profession. But you might be worried about what will happen if something goes wrong. Can you help without getting yourself into trouble?  

Now, I’m not your lawyer. And I don’t pretend to know the law in every state. But people who render aid in medical emergencies are often protected by “Good Samaritan” laws. These laws try to limit civil liability for Good Samaritans. These laws can also provide some protection for off-duty firefighters and EMTs.  

What about on an airplane? About 30 years ago, the Aviation Medical Assistance Act became law. It provides some protection to qualified EMTs, paramedics, and other medical personnel who provide care on certain commercial flights. 

If you are someone who would help in an emergency, consider preparing. Can you carry gloves and maybe other important supplies? Also, it’s a good idea to keep your department identification handy. In some situations, like during a flight, you may be asked to show your credentials when providing care.  

When an actual emergency arises, here’s a good rule of thumb. Whether you have been trained in basic life support or advanced life support, provide care within the scope of your training. And, just like when you are on-duty, follow universal or general precautions to stay safe.  

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. 

Gordon Graham, signing off. 

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