Just time for a quick one (I'm working twelve hour shifts at the moment and am spending as much time as possible asleep).
I get a call to a stabbing in a park. Not as nasty a stabbing as they can be, but bad enough to have me sweating a little while chanting my mantra 'scoop and run, scoop and run'. I like to get people in this sort of position to hospital as quickly as I can, I'm not the gung-ho type to perform surgery in the back of my ambulance, and that is what this patient needed.
The job is going remarkably smoothly – a team leader on a FRU was already there and was of the same mind as me.
So, we are just doing the needful things before we can move when an officer from another complex turns up.
“Can I help?”, he asks.
I let him know that we are going to be leaving soon as there is little that we can do for this patient besides get him to hospital sharpish. So no, thanks for the offer but we have things under control.
“I notice you haven't got epaulettes on”, he says.
I'm cutting the patient's clothes off (to make sure he hasn't been stabbed anywhere more serious than where he has already been stabbed), so I throw the comment that, yes, I know – but the were in my car when it got nicked and I'm waiting for some more.
He mutters something, but to be honest I'm not hugely interested. I've put in memos, spoken to my officers and I'm still waiting, it's not my problem any more.
(Also I'm wearing boots that I bought in good faith so I could get back to work, but our office has lost the paperwork on them so I'm £60 out of pocket until they decide to pay me for them – I might threaten them with not turning up to work wearing 'personal' footwear – that might get a few cogs moving).
We get the patient to hospital, the patient should be fine.
Now, I'm not saying that proper uniform isn't important. Personally I think that crews who don't tuck their shirts into their trousers look awful, it doesn't give us a professional look. Likewise, epaulettes are important as they are the marker of our 'rank'. It's just that there are better times to bring this up with a crew than when we are dealing with someone who might die in the next few minutes. Especially when the officer in question doesn't know us at all.