Emergency Traffic

light barPop quiz! Do you remember what you are supposed to do when you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching? If it has been a while since you took your driving exam, here are some sample questions from the DMV exam (the answers are in bold):

 

 

When do emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens have the right of way?

    1. In intersections.
    2. While driving on the right side of the road.
    3. In all circumstances.
    4. While on your side of a divided median.

When approached by an emergency vehicle with flashing lights and siren in operation, what should you do?

    1. Ensure that you stay at least 150 meters ahead of the emergency vehicle.
    2. Stop wherever you are.
    3. Turn up the volume on the stereo.
    4. Pull over to the curb and stop.

When approached by an emergency vehicle with flashing lights and siren in operation, under what circumstances is it OK not to stop?

    1. When on the opposite side of a divided highway median.
    2. There’s room for the emergency vehicle to pass you.
    3. When your emergency is more important than theirs.
    4. When you are able to stay ahead of the emergency vehicle.

How did you do? If you did not do as well as you thought, it is alright. Here is some advice written by our own paramedic Martinovich that should help clear up any questions you may have about what to do when driving and you see some bright lights in your rear view:

Imagine this, it is early evening and you are driving home from work and traffic is pretty heavy. You start to notice vehicles in front of you are pulling over, but you are not sure why. Not thinking anything of it you go around them and then all of a sudden you hear a loud noise and look in your mirrors to see an ambulance with its lights and sirens on. You quickly, and hopefully safely, react and move over.

This is not uncommon at all, and actually it happens on a daily basis. Sometimes you may not be able to hear the sirens, especially in newer vehicles. The sound proofing and technology of newer vehicles is so improved that it deadens the sounds of sirens and air horns. If you see people pulling over be sure to check your mirrors because they may be hearing something you are not.

Some people stop dead in the road, others move to the left, and some move to the right. So what is the right (and legal) thing to do?…..

right arrowMove to the Right and Stop For Lights and Sirens!  stop sign

What is an emergency vehicle? An emergency vehicle is defined as a police vehicle, ambulance or fire departLatham EMS4 CPD and CEMSment vehicle, (i.e. engines, trucks or chief vehicles). These vehicles can be defined by their flashing lights. In New York State, emergency vehicles will have red, white or combination of red and white lights. Most of these vehicles also have reflective designs on them for identification.

What to do when approached? When approached by an emergency vehicle, whether from behind you or approaching you, slow down, pull to the right and stop. It is important for you to make the stop because if for some reason that emergency vehicle has to make an DSC00592immediate move to the right, to avoid another car not obeying the traffic law, or a pedestrian or animal, you stopping your vehicle will allow them to have the room to appropriately proceed through traffic and not delay their response to the emergency. Just pulling to right and slowing down next to them could cause another accident if any of the above situations arise. Remain stopped on the shoulder of the road until the emergency vehicle has passed you. Be sure to check for additional emergency vehicles before returning into traffic.

Take time to review the NYS Traffic Law here.

This is not to be mistaken for the operation of your vehicle when approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle. Whenever you approach a police officer on the shoulder or a motor vehicle accident on the road you must use extreme caution and regard to avoid colliding into the vehicles or the personnel working on the side of the road. Slow down and move to the farthest lane from where the incident is taking place. Thecaution vehicles will be well marked but sometimes the personnel on the road may not be. Stay aware as you make your way passed the incident! This is a new law that took effect in January 2011. There have been too many injuries and deaths of emergency services providers, police personnel and bystanders from being struck by vehicles not involved in the original incident.

 

Drive safely and stay alert!

 

 

Spring Training

 

Train hard. Work hard.

It is Spring training season here at Colonie EMS. For two weeks semiannually, we take time to review our rescue skills and get operational updates from administration. This year we are excited to be adding a new skill to our rescue operations, trench rescue. In the near future, Colonie EMS will be added to the response team with Colonie Fire Company to trench rescues. Colonie Fire Company is the areas resource for trench rescue and we are very honored to be able to work with them. CEMS providers will be trained to the awareness level in order to provide support services to the technicians with CFC. In addition to this training, we are also practicing our confined space rescue skillsspringup2015springup20152 springup20153 springup20154 springup20155 springup20156 springup20157

 

 

 

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Captain Kostyun, Incident command

Captain Kostyun, Incident command

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Asst. Chief Bevilacqua

Asst. Chief Bevilacqua

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Stay tuned for more photos and updates…..

 

Cold Temperature Considerations

cold-weather2As you may have noticed… it is cold out! Extremely cold temperatures make staying warm and safe a challenge. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause other serious or life-threatening health problems. Anyone can be affected, however infants and the elderly are particularly at risk. Here is some information to help you stay healthy and safe during this extreme cold.

 

  • The World Health Organization suggests keeping indoor temperatures between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit for healthy people. Ideally the temperature should be kept above 68 degrees Fahrenheit to protect the very young, the elderly, or people with health problems.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia – shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion and slurred speech. Infants who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin. Call 911 immediately if you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from either condition.
  • When outside, especially in high wind conditions, take extra precautions to reduce the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Be sure your outer layer of clothing is tightly woven to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind, and cover exposed skin.
  • Listen to your body! Do not ignore shivering – it is an important sign that your body is losing heat and a signal to quickly return indoors.
  • Cold weather puts an extra burden on the heart. If you have cardiac problems or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s orders about shoveling or performing any strenuous exercise outside.
  • Healthy adults should remember that their bodies already are working overtime just to stay warm. Dress appropriately and work slowly when doing heavy outdoor chores.
  • Bring your pets indoors. Yes, they have fur but extreme temperatures effect them too. Also, salt from roads and walkways can damage their paws and may lead to inadvertent toxic ingestion.icicle_photos_Muffet
  • If you are having trouble paying your bills this winter, you can call or visit the NYS Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) website or Hotline at 1-800-342-3009.
  • Be a good neighbor – check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly.
  • Do your best to clear walkways of snow and ice to avoid injury from falls. Use extreme caution in clearing your roof; consider using a specialist who has the right tools. Falling icicles and heavy snow can cause life threatening injuries.

If you need to use extra sources of heat to stay warm…

  • Take precautions to avoid exposure to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
    • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially deadly gas. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating. It is produced by burning fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas, kerosene, coal and gasoline.
    • Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the flu but do not include a fever. At lower levels of exposure, a person may Carbon-monoxide-awarenessexperience a headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Exposure to very high levels of carbon monoxide can result in loss of consciousness and even death.
  • Make sure you have smoke and CO alarms in your home. Test them once a month and replace the batteries twice a year. Wood stoves, space heaters, electric heaters, kerosene heaters and pellet stoves can be dangerous unless proper safety precautions are followed. DO NOT start your car to warm up in a garage.
  • Try to avoid using extension cords to plug in space heaters. If you have to, make sure they do not become a trip and fall hazard and do not run extension cords under rugs. Make sure supplemental heaters are in a safe place to avoid being knocked over unintentionally.
  • To avoid frozen pipes, keep the heat on and set no lower than 55 degrees.  You can also let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing, open cabinet doors to allow more heat to get to non-insulated pipes under a sink or appliance near an outer wall.

In order to prepare for extreme cold temperatures…

  • In your home, keep several days’ supply of food that needs no cooking or refrigeration (remember baby food and formula if you have young children), water stored in clean containers (5 gallons per person), and medicines that any family member may need.
  • In your car, keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Make sure your vehicle is up to date on maintenance and serviced including the radiator system serviced, replace windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture, replace any worn tires, and check the air pressure in the tires.

For more info on how to prepare for extreme cold conditions, please check the CDC guide here.

Staying Healthy During Flu Season

It is here again, and this year Flu season is making a big impact. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has classified this season as severe based on early data and there aren’t any signs of it slowing down. Influenza, “the flu”, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus that can result in mild to significant illness and may even lead to death. Here are some facts and suggestions to keep you Flu-free and healthy!

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish – however not everyone with the flu has a fever
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea – this is most common in children and may lead to severe dehydration quickly

Seek medical attention or call 911 immediately if you or someone you are caring for experience any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Difficult to arouse – it is normal to be tired and sleep is a great thing to help you feel better, but if you cannot wake someone up call 911
  • Severe or persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • If you or someone had Flu-like symptoms that improved but then returned with fever and worse cough

Think you or someone in the house has the flu…

  • Getting plenty of rest – kick your feet up (you deserve it) and limit your exposure with others in the house
  • Drinking clear fluids like water, broth, sports drinks (diluted with water), or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated
  • Placing a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms, and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever
  • Putting a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier
  • Gargling salt water (1:1 ratio warm water to salt) to soothe a sore throat
  • Covering up with a warm blanket to calm chills, turn up the heat if you can (sweat it out…remember to rehydrate)
  • Over the counter medications are great to reduce the symptoms of the flu, however please read the label if you are purchasing multiple medications. Many of them contain the same or similar ingredients and taking too much can cause serious health problems. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions about what to take.
  • There are prescription antiviral medications available from your doctor if you have the flu. They work best if taken early, but no medication is without side effects, so please be sure to ask your doctor what those side effects are.

Don’t have the flu and want to keep it that way…

  • Get vaccinated. If you are not sure where, click here and type in your zip code.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Try to avoid, or at least limit close contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food. Good health habits protect you from more than the flu.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers may dry your skin out, so keep your hands pretty with a moisturizer. Intact and healthy skin is the primary barrier from all kinds viruses and bacteria that will make you sick from entering your body.
  • Invest in a disinfectant to clean common areas and items frequently handled such as bathrooms, children’s toys, cellphones, keys, steering wheels, etc. Make sure you read the directions for proper and safe usage.

Colonie EMS is Hosting EMT Refresher

EMT Challenge Refresher Banner smallerColonie EMS is proud to host various courses throughout the year, and in just a couple of weeks we will be sponsoring an EMT Challenge Refresher. If you are an EMT who has a certification that is about to expire, or if it already has and you would like to brush up on your skills and knowledge, this is the course for you!

Classes begin on Tuesday February 3 with classes until final written exam on May 21. Candidates must also take or show proof of completion NIMS ICS 100, NIMS IS 700 and IS-5 in order to complete the course. For more detailed information on the course please click Spring 2015 refresher course flyer to download the flyer and projected schedule.

This course is open to anyone who has previously been a NYS EMT, but is on a first-come first serve basis, so sign up now!!!

EMS Department Saves Dispatcher’s Wife

Linda and Bob Davis

Linda and Bob Davis

A happy ending for a close call before the Holidays. It is anyone in emergency services worst nightmare; hearing an ambulance dispatched to your own address for the most serious of calls, a cardiac arrest. Bob Davis is a member of our own family, and that was his experience while participating in a charity football game between local fire departments. A few weeks before Christmas, Bob’s wife, Linda, was home with their children when she went into cardiac arrest. Due to the quick action of their children who called 911 immediately, and CPR performed by a neighbor and fellow Fuller Road Fire Department member, Linda’s life was saved and she was home for Christmas.

We go out of our way to ensure that the best possible care is delivered as fast as possible to your family, and in this case our family. It is a system wide response that involves many departments and a great deal of training and most importantly, teamwork. In cases like this, resources involved include fire department first response units, the closest police officer with an AED, at least 2 ALS staffed units and an EMS Shift Commander. None of these units would get there without the work of dispatchers. Dispatchers like Bob, keep callers calm and get vital information to the responding units and most importantly give pre-arrival instructions such as CPR to people on scene. All of which contribute to the high success rates of prehospital sudden cardiac death reversals here in Colonie.

On a daily basis, agencies here in Colonie work together to save lives. Most recently, police officers are all trained to administer and carry Narcan, which reverses the deadly effects of opioid overdoses such as heroin. Around the same time as Linda’s cardiac arrest reversal, officer Greg Jensen was first on scene to a respiratory arrest and administered Narcan moments before EMS crews got there. In doing so, the patient began breathing again and survived. Police officers such as Greg are vital in the care provided here in Colonie. We are truly unique in the working relationship with have with our police and fire departments, and value it greatly.

Click here for news coverage on our ‘Echo Response Team’

New Resources Added to Help Residents Stay Informed During Emergencies.

nixle 900 x 400We here at Colonie EMS encourage people to be prepared and we want to help in anyway possible. We have added several resources to help you be as ready as possible in the event of an emergency.

Colonie Police Department has joined a new communication system called Nixle. NixleNixle is free to join and updates important, valuable community information directly to residents or anyone who works or frequents the town. Information and messages regarding advisories, real time emergency information, as well as other relevant safety and community event information are shared instantly via cell phone text message and/or email. Residents of the Village of Menands also have an emergency alert system called First Call.

The Albany County Sheriffs Office also organizes an Evacuation Functional Needs 911 Registry for residents who may require special considerations during an emergency. This is helps first responders plan ahead for resources that may be needed in the event of an emergency. It is completely voluntary and confidential. Simply click on the form link, fill out, and submit.

One of the greatest things about living in the Town of Colonie are the resources provided to its residents. The Senior Resources Center provides a wealth of support for our senior residents and we work very closely with them. Whether you are looking for yourself or a loved one, there is a great deal available through the center.

Please check our Community Training page for a list of links and resources that may be beneficial to you or someone you know.

EMS Department Gives Local Family a Very Merry Christmas!

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Colonie EMS personnel came together this holiday season to give Santa a hand and provide a very Merry Christmas for a local family with eight children. Although the list was lengthy, friends and members of the department came together to make sure that every single item asked for was received. The outpouring of generosity for this event is a true testament to the character and spirit of our members, and we could not be prouder of everyone!  The family was deeply moved and greatly appreciated our efforts. This will surely be a new tradition here at Colonie EMS.

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A Community Comes Together: Fundraiser for Paramedic Dave Plouff

CEMSBA - Dave's FundraiserEarly in the morning of December 18, a possible structure fire was reported in the Schuyler Heights Fire District in the Town of Colonie. Dave Plouff, a long time Paramedic for the Town of Colonie’s EMS Department was just preparing to end his shift across town in zone 2. After hearing the initial call in the area of his home he had a sinking feeling in his heart – one that only got worse as he received word that it was his house that was on fire.

Dave is a familiar face to most. Many people were taught how to be EMTs by Dave or have worked alongside him in an ambulance, and his name is well known at Albany Medical Center where he also works.

Over 600 donations were received in less than 5 days.

More than any of that, though, Dave is probably one of the most kind-hearted and caring people. He would go out of his way to help anyone that he knows.

He lost everything in this fire except the uniform him had on and the possessions he had in his personal vehicle. No amount of money can replace everything – but we can make sure he has what he needs to get through this troubling time as he works through the process of loss and recovery.

“On behalf of the Colonie EMS Benevolent Association, I have to, once again, express my gratitude and excitement at what we have been able to do as a community of EMS for one of our members.” Said Daniel Murdock, Treasurer of the Colonie EMS Benevolent Association. “The strength of a community is never stronger than when someone in that community is in need. Make sure to share Dave’s story and get the word out that our colleague needs us now more than ever.”

 

After years of helping others, EMS worker’s home destroyed by fire

Updated: 12/19/2014 10:18 AM
Created: 12/18/2014 12:26 PM WNYT.com
By: Ben Amey of News 13

COLONIE – A home is considered a total loss following an early morning fire in Colonie. And while losing your home to a fire is devastating, the man who owned this house has a unique perspective.

“It’s the pits,” said David Plouffe, who owns the home that went up in flames. “It’s the ultimate.”

A house fire is devastating for any homeowner. It was no different when flames shot from a home on Grenada Terrace in Colonie early Thursday morning.

“The placement of the house is kind of difficult,” said Chief Aaron Fandle of the Schuyler Heights Fire District. “It’s tough. It sits back off the road to get any apparatus to. Like I said, we also ran into some water issues.”

Firefighters had issues attaching adaptors to the hydrants on the street. In all, seven companies and around 50 firefighters responded to the fire. Firefighters say there were power lines down when they arrived, and that the fire may have started on the side of the home. The official cause is under investigation.

Firefighters say there were no injuries in the fire because the homeowner, who works for Colonie EMS, was already at work. “I was still working, I was working at the Central Avenue station,” said Plouff.

Plouff said he heard the initial call, and immediately had a bad feeling. “I jumped in my vehicle, I had a gut feeling, a horrible feeling, that something might be wrong,” he said.

He was on his way home when he got the terrible news. “My fire chief, because I’m a member of the volunteer fire company here also, called me and said, “Your house is on fire.””

Plouff has lived in the home for 20 years. Inside, he was gathering items for an EMS museum in Massachusetts. “So it’s not just my own personal items, there’s other items that were going to have some kind of lasting significance about the history of Emergency Medical Services,” said Plouff.

For years, Plouff has helped people who have been the victims of house fires. He says the perspective from the other side is horrible. “What’s interesting for me, and I guess a learning lesson, there’s no guide,” said Plouff. “There’s really no physical, where do you start? And that’s what I’m trying to pull this together today.”

If you are interested in helping Plouff get back on his feet, you can find ways to contribute here.

 

 

Confined Space Rescue

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Each year Colonie EMS crews conduct semi-annual training updates on technical rescue and medical training. This fall Assistant Chief Jack Bevilacqua, the designated training chief, coordinated an update for the department which acts as the primary confined space team for the Town of Colonie.

What is Confined Space Rescue?

Confined space rescue is a subset of technical rescue which typically involves extraction of a patient from narrow or constricted areas such as storage tanks, water treatment plants, sewer and mechanical areas.

These environments are typically oxygen depleted or contain dangerous gasses that may have incapacitated the patient to begin with. This requires crews to utilize Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) or supplied air lines. It also requires full body harnesses and rope rescue systems setup for a vertical extraction.

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