“Male, cut to arm, threatening to slice up neighbour, known psychiatric patient, wants London Fire Brigade for fun”
That is how the job came down the computer terminal to me. Now, normally I'm not too bothered about going into potentially dangerous situations (I can run really fast if someone is chasing me), but this job rang warning bells.
1) He has a cut to his arm, did he do it himself? If he did do it himself, then he'll probably still have the knife.
2) Why does he want to 'slice up' his neighbour? Is he angry with them? Neighbour arguments tend to be rather nasty.
3) What is his psychiatric history? Does he have a history of violence? Does he have a pathological hatred of the colour green? (Our uniforms are green…)
So I decided that for this job I would wait for the police to arrive.
So I'm sitting in my car around the corner, there is an ambulance with me, and we are waiting for the police to come and protect us.
So my mind starts to wander. How bad is the cut to his arm? He could be laying on the floor bleeding to death if an artery has been cut. What about the neighbour? In the time I'm waiting, has he stabbed them? When I finally go around there, will I come across a bloodbath?
I consider having a look myself, I have a stabproof vest, but my arms, legs and head are still vulnerable to having 8 inches of sharp metal shoved into them. If I did go around and get stabbed there are two things that would happen,
(a) I wouldn't get any attention until after the police turned up.
(b) I also wouldn't get any sympathy from work as they've already told me not to go near the place.
So we sit there, members of the public stare at us, and I try to chill out by listening to the latest Coldplay album (verdict: rather good actually).
Why haven't the fire service turned up yet? He did ask for them, and I'm sure they, like us, can't refuse a call.
They never turned up though.
The police turn up, we go around to the address, and the patient is as nice as they come. He'd been (allegedly) pushed over by the neighbour, and had a graze to his arm.
So while I could have completed the job in minutes, to do so safely took a lot longer.
This is the sort of thing we have to think about as we go to each and every job. And that's just sad.
With the exception of the slashing job yesterday, all these 'Knife Time' posts took place during one day.