The Firehouse Rocks

Last week The Kid's class went to the local fire station for a tour, fire safety lesson and ride on an antique fire truck included. I was luckily able to go along as a chaperone, and took advantage of the opportunity to buttonhole a paramedic and question him about various medic alerts, which have been a hot topic of conversation around here lately.
After the tour, we were all eating lunch, and one of the girls in The Kid's class asked me about his bracelet. (Interesting that she asked me instead of him, but I went with it, since his mouth was full and it gave me an opening.) I explained that if he were ever sick and a firefighter came to help him (I shamelessly pointed to the startled paramedic standing next to us), it would tell him or her about The Kid's allergies.
The paramedic was a really good sport about it and leaned over to to look at The Kid's medic alert bracelet. He read the tag aloud, then patiently answered all my questions. Here's what he had to say:
  • The paramedic stated that the medic alert needed to be obvious and clearly visible. Rescue crews keep an eye out for the medic alert logo, then look more closely once they see it.
  • A bracelet is better than a necklace, since sometimes a tag will be hidden on the back of the neck or beneath clothing.
  • The most important information to have on there is any drug allergies. (To me this was interesting, since it was the perspective of a first responder, who is primarily concerned with emergency care.)
  • I asked his opinion of medic alerts that have a phone number providing access to an individual's medical information. The paramedic stated that a child my son's age is either with a caregiver who is able to provide that information, or is at school. He said that any time he has been called to a school, the health card listing any conditions, medications, etc., has already been fetched, and that card accompanies the child if he or she is transported.
After thanking the paramedic, I had a lot to mull over. One good idea I had is to write out all of the same information that is on the school clinic card, including his doctors' contact info, and put it in The Kid's EpiPen case, that way I don't have to worry about getting tongue tied in an emergency. We may revisit the idea of a tag with a phone number accessing his medical records once he is an independent teenager.
It was a fun trip, and The Kid and I were both well educated. So thank you to the firefighters at the East Lake station!


Nowheymama said...

Very interesting! We keep a copy of K's Allergy Action Plan from FAAN's website in each of her allergy kits at home and school, as well as in her school file.

Anonymous said...

Yeah for firefighters! I brought my daughter to a fire station when we were in the US this summer and she ate it up.
I think it's great that you asked all the questions you wanted. That's their job, and they would be the first ones there is something happened.
Personally, I think your courage has the firefighters' beat!

Jenn Casey said...

Interesting about the drug allergies. I have anaphylactic drug allergies, but don't often wear my bracelet. But I always make my son wear his! Hmmm....perhaps I ought to reconsider that. Thanks for the thought-provoking article.

Puddle Jumper said...

So personally do you think the phone number is worth it? I have an id bracelet, (roadid instead of medic alert, its a nice velcro band which is great for my nickel allergy), with several phone numbers since I am 20 and live 3 hours away from relatives. Since I bought the bracelet, more for the fear of getting hurt while running, I have developed a strange milk product, nickel, and tea allergies (I'm probably missing something, I just eat the same four things to prevent disasters) and asthma. Since these weren't medicine allergies I held off getting a medic alert bracelet, do you think its worth it?

Libby said...

Hi Puddle Jumper,

As much as I'd like to help, I'm not a doctor and cannot give you medical advice. I do recommend going to see an allergist and getting a definitive diagnosis and advice and hopefully an expanded menu. If you have a chronic condition such as asthma, that's another reason to consider a medic alert, and would be a good question to take with you to see a doctor. My son wears a "sport band" from American Medical ID, which might be an option with your nickel allergy.

I wish you all the best.