Someone was explaining some of the differences between those in the life saving business and it was fascinating. This is not definitive on any one group and by no means is it to denigrate anyone if it comes off that way. Nor is it a Wilderness first responder recertification online description of what to do and what not to do in an emergency situation. It was just interesting to hear how the lines of responsibility are sometimes fairly clear. Taking a look at the search and rescue world is what was explained and how saving someone’s life is quite different depending on where you are located and how close help is.
For one, if you are in a typical urban setting, the idea of first aid is to keep the person stable and not to do anything stupid for roughly five to ten minutes until the emergency medical technicians or paramedics arrive and perform life saving procedures if needed. You mainly make sure people are breathing, the blood is circulating and they aren’t bleeding too much. Not doing anything stupid is not moving someone with spinal injuries or head and neck injuries. If they aren’t in danger of dying from an outside source like being in a burning car, you probably should not move them. The emergency teams then take over and get them to the hospital as fast as possible. You can sometimes tell who is experienced by what they are wearing.
At the hospital or if a passerby happens to be in the medical profession they might be wearing nurse scrubs. An EMT or paramedic wears another uniform and most of them have lots of pockets. First responders of plane crashes are often in military or police uniforms. The thing that they are all wearing and will tell you the professional from the amateur is they are all wearing gloves.
Those wearing nursing scrubs rarely venture outside the hospital to help people, they leave that to the paramedics and EMTs. The paramedics and EMTs rarely venture out into the wilderness; they leave that to the search and rescue groups. There are different specialties within these groups. If you are going out to find a downed plane, you have to know wilderness first aid because it is different than the first aid explained above. There are no EMT’s coming out in their ambulance to pick up the injured person. You have to take the injured person to them. That means you need to patch them up and keep them alive until you get them into the urban or near urban setting where the next wave of emergency services can take over. If you are on the search and rescue team you will probably not be searching for scrubs online because scrubs are not hardy enough for where you may need to go.