Oh F.F.S!

Can you imagine the ambulance response…

We are driving along on blue lights and sirens, traffic is heavy and we are on our way to a potentially life-threatening call.

From the side of the road we see a member of the public gesticulating angrily at us. He is shouting, swearing and indicating something to us.

He is angry because our sirens are so loud they are disrupting his mobile phone call.

Obviously a more important phone call than our emergency journey.

One member of this ambulance crew may well have made a rude hand signal at this pillock, I wouldn't like to say which one.

I happen to think it was justified.

21 thoughts on “Oh F.F.S!”

  1. wait a minute. now it's wrong to cover your ears to protect them from a loud noise ? can you explain precisely how this prevents or impedes you reaching your patient ? while the cretin who protested at the ambulance noise is obviously just that, a cretin, are you telling me that if I find a loud noise painful I should endure it because bursting my ear drums helps you do your job ? could you explain how this works, please ?

  2. I presume that you gesture was to indicate to him that you agreed with him and that he was indeed No1 in the pecking order of importance? Or alternatively you may have been suggesting that he really was second and should not be so annoyed?Good For you – what a prize specimin of a self abuser he must be!Steve

  3. i would like to think that as you are part of a health care service, you were looking after his sexual health and advising him on a new sexual “self care” technique…….. though clearly the man seems to be very good at self care already πŸ™‚

  4. Just when you think people can't be any more ignorant and stupid evolution produces someone… let's hope he never breeds!

  5. That level of self-centredness must surely count as mental illness, perhaps sociopathy. It's a pity you couldn't stop to pick him up and drop him off at the nearest mental health facility.

  6. I reguarly get people putting their hands over their ears as I drive past.I reguarly think of making rude gestures but usually decide against it.

  7. I put my hands over my ears quite often as an emergency vehicle comes past. Believe it or not, it's not meant as an affront to any of the responders, or even as an indication that I think you should be quiet – I know there's a good and valid reason for the noise. It's simply because it's very loud and hurts my ears and my head. I don't think I deserve “rude gestures” from you any more than I deserve them from other drivers.

  8. Not to throw a spanner in the works or anything, but I'd hazard a guess that most of the time, a siren isn't even needed for most responding vehicles. We use it pretty sparingly – but then we live in a mostly rural area. Most of the time we don't run lights and sirens en route to the hospital because it seems counterproductive. Many motorists just get that 'deer in the headlights' thing and freeze. Then you have to stop behind them and it slows you up even more. The one thing that really gets my goat is when people just don't pull over at all – like you are somehow invisible behind them.

  9. would also like to add my dismay that I might be the recipient of a rude gesture next time I cover my ears at a passing siren or, as usual, do an ungainly vertical take off when its launched unexpectedly at the side of me.will, however, make a note never to ask them to turn the things down while a take a call again. <---- Joke

  10. ah – I live on a rather traffic-congested one-way road where any emergency vehicle is rather dependent on the deedahs to make their presence known to the drivers of cars who aren't constantly checking their mirrors, and the pedestrians who have to get out of the way of cars that have to mount the pavement to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle. Also about 300 yards from a fire station. I wouldn't say there's constant sirens, but it's a strange day when I don't hear one at least.

  11. Just to point out that reynolds was refering to someone shouting and swearing which is a bit different to just covering your ears. Of course on the flip side reynolds (and his crew mate) are meant to be professionals at work and should portray that image, what's the point of letting it get you stressed. Laugh it off, hell of a lot less ulcers in later life that way.DSO

  12. you have to read the whole thing bbs. My response was to Mark, who was offended by people covering their ears, not to reynolds, who was offended (who wouldn't be ?) by offensive gestures.And I'm already older than you could imagine, thanks, and not at all stressed – got my hands over my ears!

  13. So sad, when driving, man must be in his cocoon, minding his own Business, must not be offended by other mothballed irritants, so that THEMS that be needed to save a life, must boost the audio and visual fireworks to get some space to get life saving equipment to save another of homo erectus.[Sapiens – no, not wise just upright,sumtimes ]PS. Every car should have a receiver of an emergency infra red signal that when activated by a rushing Rescue team, will activate the cell phone, radio ,cd player or video warning display under the rear view mirror, and tell the driver of said vehicle to move over , thereby reducing the need to have brain shattering 105 decibels of hee haws, as there so many that have a restriction already in the ear duct from brain shattering music, can not hear a Jet plane taking off.

    Here in La La Land, many Traffick lights have a receiver for an emegency signal that sets the lights in an appropiate mode to stop traffic from crossing the pathway of the Emergency vehicle, and keep the Green going so that the impediments in front of the vehicle can scoot out ot the way before being flattened.

    From a walking mover it appears to cut down on the number of ear shattering moments. When driving one has no idea, whence the audio be coming from when thee hear it, it could be just yards away in a blind spot on the side street., when that 100 plus decibel penitrates the thick glass and activates the sensors in the grey cells.

  14. Some paramedic commenting on Walking The Streets wrote something I think is relevant:Paramedics are 'ruled' by the HPC, which is the biggest con in healthcare…

    I'd imagine/hope that it wasn't one of us, no matter how stressed you are you shouldn't act like a pillock towards other people.

    Generally I'd agree with 'me'.

    Tom Reynolds | Homepage | 01.08.06 – 9:15 pm | #

  15. Oh, well spotted! Of course this comment was made in relation to a possible healthcare person making a death-threat against a traffic warden who had just ticketted them.A bit of a change of magnitude methinks.

  16. A change of magnitude perhaps, but on principle possibly the same.We don't know the full situation in the case of the person ticketted, perhaps they'd been called in to work unexpectedly, been unable to find a parking place, spent a long shift saving lives and returned to find a parking fine.

    Regardless of that, I'd say their behaviour was wrong, they should have continued on and dealt with the ticket through the proper channels and it could well have been that they'd have had to pay it. As it is, there was a threat worded in anger, which if they are a health care professional will do them no favours.

    Now in your case, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you're expected to ignore such behaviour and if appropriate report it to the police/management. In practice, the chances are nothing will happen to the person who I agree was acting stupidly, but the response given was a gesture displayed (it would seem to me) in anger.

    Morally to me, the situations seem potentially similar, the person ticketted was in no danger, and you were in no danger, and if the person ticketted was a health care professional (which to me it sounds like he wasn't) in a situation described above then I can easily see they might be angry, just as I can see why (I presume) you were.

    Addtionally, you were in a liveried vehicle and in uniform, and I think it possible that some people may well have seen the gesture, without seeing the provocation. If so, what sort of image does that convey?

    Many people who wear uniforms have to deal with stupid people who will do things selfishly, and I have on some (admittedly) rare occasions had to put up with such things. My approach has always been (provided I'm in no danger) to try to diffuse or ignore, you weren't in a position to diffuse it so in my view (which I hope you don't mind me stating) you should have ignored it.

  17. I do think that the magnitude makes a difference.That I am in a uniform does not make me any less of a human being (as, I think, this blog shows). Sure the member of the public being rude, referring to us as female genitalia and being completely selfish could have been ignored, but then he may feel justified doing this to other people.

    If I were not in a uniform, would it be more acceptable? If so, then why should I be forced to endure crap from people just because I have a trust badge on a green shirt.

    Behaviour like this should be challenged, and us not being 'easy targets' is one way of challenging this. Otherwise it leads to the slippery slope where I can be assaulted and should 'expect' it. Something that has already happened in a legal case where a judge has said that we should expect to be assaulted by drunks.

    We are not, and should not, be victims – bound by some idea that as ambulance people we should be angels.

    As NeeNaw posted earlier (and I will probably be touching upon in the near future) while the public can complain about our behaviour, we have no recourse to do the same. So are insults to be one way?

    And would you expect a UPS deliverer to act the same, or a businessman in a suit? Because if you do, then you create a culture of victimhood, where those who insult us can get away with it.

    (Note – lack of sleep may make this reply seem a little rude – this is not my intention).

  18. I have only just heard about your blog site and have since bought your book, and oh how true it really is.i to do the same job as you and know exactly what you mean the first page in your book had me rolling around the floor of the train from london after a day out with my family. a excellent book and i will be telling all my work colleages about keep up the great work.

  19. I'm an Italian EMT and on our ambulances we usually have two different sirens (just in case…): a “wailing” siren, usually called “Fischio” (whistle) in Italian and a two-tone high-low-high-looooow siren, also called “Trombe” (trumpets). In this cases, I'd suggest to turn on BOTH sirens!

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