Londonist Referral And Chemical Masks

If you came here from here – I have no idea about the news about chemical masks, but I do know that we are all going to be given radiation detectors.  I mentioned it here along with a suggested new name of ‘London Ambulance and Canary Service’.

Also the news story says ‘Paramedics’, as an EMT am I therefore expendable?

(Yes, yes, I know that ‘Paramedic’ is media shorthand for anyone who works on an ambulance).

32 thoughts on “Londonist Referral And Chemical Masks”

  1. Here in East Anglia we were given radiation detectors and a short briefing on what to do with them. Most people seem to have shoved them in their lockers.

  2. Nuclear radiation protection? But, and I'm sure I'll get told if I'm wrong here, which I may very well be as this is half-remembered stuff from school…If a nuclear bomb is detonated in central London, most of the living cells in central London, be they human, animal, vegetable, or contents of a bachelor's fridge, would be pretty much instantly vapourised anyway, wouldn't they?The people who would be dying slowly of radiation sickness and might have time to put a mask on would be in the rather more outlying areas./cheery thoughts

  3. For those of us who are factually challenged, please could you explain the difference between a paramedic and an EMT?Thanks Tom!

  4. I believe that the worry is not a nuclear explosion (of the atom bomb type, or indeed the neutron bomb which kills living organisms but leaves buildings standing), but instead a dirty bomb — an explosion which vaporises radioactive waste all over the place.In theory it's a lot easier to do this, but I'm far more sceptical about the actual threat one of those poses… You'd need a really large amount of rather radioactive material for it to become a big problem… I think the far more serious threat is the panic and fear that one of these would create, rather than any real radioactivity…

  5. EMT and paramedics do the same job, but paramedics have more drugs to play with, can put needles in people to give them drugs and fluids and can pass breathing tubes down the airways of people who have stopped breathing*.(*Short version)

  6. I think we'll know when a nuclear bomb has gone off.The idea is that if we go into an area where there may be radiation poisoning (leaking medical waste, naughty terorists building a dirty bomb) then we'll know about it and can run away.

  7. At a slight tangent here, I work for the MOD, attached to the USAF. The USAF get kitted out with all kinds of chem gear – gas masks, charcoal lined suits, etc. What do we civilians get in case of nuclear, chemical or biological attack? Nitrile gloves. I know where I am on the pecking order 🙁

  8. LaLaLaLalaLaLaLala…. fingers in ears…. I can't hear you……That's because I'm so far out in the provinces that nothing like that would ever happen here!!!

    Or so the “Powers that be would have you think!!

    (We can't even get the standard issue stab-vest as PPE here)

    And yes we do the same job with all the delights just like Tom, and anyone in any other area…… SSDA

    I'm just on my way out to do a glorious night shift now….. anyone wanna do a swap??


  9. The United States Air Force – sorry I assumed all would know the acronym (and bow down and tremble at the mere mention of it of course).

  10. Pre-merger our service had been issued with EPDs (Electronic Personal Dosimeter), but so far I've managed to avoid the training and I don't intend to have one – I didn't join the Ambulance Service to become a Human Geiger Counter for Leader Blair & Co. These things cost 400 each and the money would be better spent on a decent radio system so we can call for help when we need it – nutters will kill us before radiation does!The Police are apparently keen on us having EPDs because we are invited into places that they are not, but there is no protocol for what we should do if the thing goes off. We were told verbally that we should leave the scene immediately but (surprise) there is nothing in writing. I can just imagine the headlines if a crew is on scene, their EPD's are triggered (by, say, someone's WW2-era luminous watch); they leave and the patient dies. The crew would be hung out to dry with absolutely no support from management.

    “as an EMT am I therefore expendable?” – of course, aren't we all? The Great British Public thinks that everyone who wears a green suit and jumps out of an ambulance is a Paramedic: this view is encouraged by lying politicians who claim that every ambulance in the country is crewed by a Para and an EMT (the majority are double-tech crewed), and reinforced by a lazy media who like simple labels.

    (sorry if this is a bit of a rant – had a bad shift last night)

  11. 'fraid it's not just the media who are lazy – if an ambulance is called to me, I don't think I'll ever be likely to quiz the lovely people in green about their level of qualification or job title or Agenda For Change pay bracket, and if I recount the incident later, odds are they'll simply get referred to as the “ambulance-man” or “ambulance-woman”. I'm more likely to remember their names than their specific jobs.In much the same way, if I then go to hospital, anyone introduced as “Dr Whatever” is mentally categorised “doctor” and anyone else is mentally categorised “nurse” – I don't have a clue about SHOs and ANNPs and CMHPs and whatnot. Unless you're actually IN the NHS, it's just so many meaningless jumbles of letters.

  12. In Houston (Texas) they use police officers to detect Bad Things. The theory is after the third one runs up and croaks, the rest will know that Something Bad Has Happened and will stay away.As it was told to me by yet another Houston police officer, the current City of Houston plan in the event of a Terrorist Attack is to firmly plant your head in the sand and hope your ass doesn't catch on fire.

  13. Not having a pop at you (the public). The point I was trying to make is that these labels are applied by politicians and the media, the public then use them because they think the terms are correct; and no one “in authority” bothers to correct this because it suits their purpose for the misinformation to continue.Para/EMT is a relatively minor example – it happens on much more significant things, e.g WMD/no plans to introduce University tuition fees/The NHS is safe with us. Sorry, there I go again: need sleep and beer (not necessarily in that order).

  14. I get what you are saying – the politicians and media are perpetuating ignorance for their own ends, with the specific example being the idea that a paramedic and an EMT is all the same.but I'm not using simple terms because I think they're correct. Often I know they're not and that there is a “proper” term I should be using. I'm using them because what I need, is simple terminology. There is no way on god's green earth I am going to be able to remember the proper job title of every NHS worker I come into contact with. I know they have the different titles, I just can't keep track of them.

    I'm not a politician and I'm not a journalist, I'm just a normal person with limited brain capacity who can't remember employment structures and hierarchies for anything I'm not directly involved in.

    Enjoy your sleep and beer. Have a chinese takeaway too, you deserve it I'm sure 🙂

  15. I see quite a lot of your 1- and 2-pipped colleagues already wearing their green dosimeter reader thingies. Dunno what they're supposed to do with them though!You think you're expendable as an EMT? Try being a copper! We aren't getting any masks. We'll just run in there, get gassed and then get complained about by the local community, the media and our bosses. Whine, grump, moan…..

  16. There is a great deal of cynicism about protection against radiation and much too much worry. I do not worry about drowning on a boat (I dont drink on boats so my risks are very low statistically) but I still do the first aid.I see radiations risks in the same way. Most radiation accidents are accidents (!) For fun try or search for Juarez Mexico.

    I saw a fire once where the firemen ran away from the fire because there were low level sources (safely boxed) in other parts of the building; they refused to follow friends of mine into the building. I do not like uncalculated risk and if you are the same then the following may be useful (forgive me for stating the obvious):

    (1) If you help someone who is contaminated then you need to be able to clean up afterwards. If you breathe radioactive particles into your lungs it is hard to treat and you wont be able to guess your risk from the radiation meter reading BUT even an ad-hoc mouth covering will keep 50 % of particles out. (they have tried to treat contaminated lungs with chelating agents with terrible side effects and no particularly clear benefit)

    (2) When radioactive dust is released in urban areas it collects in all sorts of strange places (such as gutters) and it gets passed around by clothing and hand-contact. In one incident people passed around powders that glowed blue because they looked nice. In an incident in Mexico the main medical centre was contaminated by dust on patients but with a bit of thought they were able to get around the problem. Dont believe the computer models because when I last looked they did not describe real incidents; think twice before joining groups of other people.

    (3) There are lots of different types of radioactive materials. Much of the militarily important work was done with insoluble silicate fall out particles (formed from vaporised rock); it is comparatively easy to brush these off and washing works well. Very fine powers, soluble powders, etc should be washed off even if you cannot see them (especially if you are ever unlucky enough to be near a nuclear device that has gone off in seawater or limestone).

    (4) When washing someone down you need to avoid conditioners in shampoo or soap these cause some radio-nuclides to migrate into the skin (just because of the chemistry).

    If I thought that I could control my risk then I would be willing to help someone get to safety/ clean up etc.

  17. You think you're expendable? I work in civil engineering, I don't even qualify for a flu jab, let alone a whole actual gas mask! In addition to that, I live in the North and as everyone in London knows, Northern cities aren't really very civilised so don't warrant having money spent on contingency plans and protection to prevent their inhabitants being blown to buggery or poisoned.

  18. Same here snowdrop! Stab vests apparently aren't needed.The last two times people have been threatened with knives…guess what…the manager investigating blamed the crews for putting themselves in danger!!! Says a lot when one of the crews is possibly one of the most cautious of anyone i have met!

  19. Apparently the escape hoods are coming and be here to stay…if you initiate Step 3 of Step 1-2-3 you don your hood and isolate yourself. They are now saying that intelligence indicates that a CBRN attack somewhere in the UK within the next 6 months id inevitable (confirmed by a friend who works in the Home Office in London). I know there is a lot of stuff with CBRN and SORT training for decom, but i still reckon its goin to be safer inside a suit, cos if the exercises are anything to go by it's all going to go tits up with the containment!It's actually nice for them to be proactive for once and not reactive. A CBRN attack that culled ambulance crews might suit the current management! I expect they are hoping it comes before they pay any a4c backpay!!!

  20. Hey, it really makes the heart swell to know that we're all being cared for and “managed” by such a caring lot eh??? Luckily for us though most of our direct managers have been “On the road” so at least when incidents do occur like this they generally do look after us, It's the “Hoy Polloy” managers a bit higher up, most of whom have never set foot inside an ambulance, that make the job most difficult…. They haven't got a clue about the job we do or the situations we find ourselves in on a regular (often daily) basis…….Sorry for my rant but a tad grumpy and knackered this evening ;0( …. just got home after a 12 hour shift…. 10 hours of which were spent off station, on the road, all over this vast county, going straight from job to job, total miles today? approx 200!!! (all bar one of these jobs were red calls)

    But glad to know that we are not alone ;0)

    Now then where did I put that bottle of red and huge bar of chocolate????


    Snowdrop (soon to be chilled out and ready to do it all again tomorrow) ;0)

  21. P- You scared me now so I'm gonna be hiding behind my cushion for 6 months!!!….. no hoods or suits for us up here!!! The chosen few have had the training, we have some lovely shiny newly fitted out CBRN vehicles which sit rusting with dead batteries so they wont start up… so the majority of us are left wondering “What the hell”??????? Can I come and squeeze in your suit with you?? I wont wriggle too much, honest ;0)

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