As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, it is important that our frontline providers, flight teams and support staff maintain a high level of situational awareness. During times of crisis, some people can act irrationally, while others may attempt to exploit the scenario for their own gain. This is evidenced by occurrences of people behaving badly, arguing, grabbing, pushing, and even fighting in store aisles for supplies.
While we may think this kind of behavior will ebb and eventually stop, the reality is that it is escalating, and it may affect provider or employee safety. Recently, we have received reports relating to the theft of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from GMR vehicles and/or storage trailers, persons approaching providers to ask for supplies, and suspicious activity around company facilities and vehicles.
With that in mind, we are asking that everyone maintain a high level of situational awareness to ensure that we remain secure and safe. Here are some simple but powerful steps we can take to protect ourselves and our partners:
Wherever You Are
- Be extra vigilant by increasing surveillance around you, at all times.
- Recognize that as people become desperate for masks or other supplies, they may approach paramedics, EMTs and other healthcare providers asking if we have any we can spare. If this happens, we should politely decline the request and remind them that, to provide the service we do for the public, it is essential we have the correct equipment to do so.
At the Base
- Keep your station’s parking area well-lit and ensure all facilities, including hangers and call centers, are locked.
- Maintain certificate-approved aircraft security procedures.
- Keep your personal vehicles locked at all times.
In the Field
- Keep post-emergency vehicles in well-lit areas and report exact posting location to dispatch.
- If you or your partner feel unsafe at any time, notify dispatch and consider relocating (move away from the threat) until the situation de-escalates.
- Be sure to lock your vehicle whenever you leave it.
- Carry your radio at all times and avoid becoming separated from your partner or teammates.
- Limit scene times when possible.
Being safe does not happen by accident, we make it happen. When we practice situational awareness we protect ourselves, our partners, teammates and our patients.