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UK boy dies as ambulance crew takes break

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  • Andy

    Tea break is slang for meal break here, and we are all unpaid and off the clock for our breaks. Once we get back and start it that’s it. Also, there is no element of them refusing to go, calls are passed via computer to the ambulance, so they wouldn’t have even known that the call was waiting for an ambulance.

    Before I started working on the ambulance I worked in the dispatch centre, and as a dispatcher I got disciplined for asking a crew to break their protected meal and respond to a cardiac arrest. Obviously needing my job, I didn’t make that ‘mistake’ a second time.

    That said, there should be enough cover for people to have proper meals and not need to be disturbed. Thankfully I live and work in a large city, so there are always plenty of trucks about.

  • http://firelawblog.com Curt Varone

    Thanks Andy

    I doubt many firefighters here in the US understood the tea break reference. I know I did not.

    In Providence we actively debated giving EMS personnel lunch breaks because if not they would virtually be going from run to run to run without a break. We opted not to at the time – not out of lack of concern for them but out of a concern for this type of occurrence.

    I agree – there should be enough people to cover the positions so someone can at least have a lunch, bathroom, or shower break, but money drives the decisionmaking.

    Thanks for filling us in!!!!

  • Roland R. LaFrance, Sr.

    What next, nap time?? I've been both a paid professional and a volunteer professional firefighter and medical first responder/EMT.    If we refused to respond, we and the entire paid department would be sued. How many meals and sleepless nights did I give up to serve as both a paid and a volunteer? It seems ridiculous to me that tea time takes priority over response. The calls comes in, you go if you are available.