High rises have become the darlings of the LEED and Green Building initiatives, where energy efficiency, water usage, and recyclable materials are used sustainably. As these office and residential towers proliferate around the world, their futuristic profiles are the epitome of modern elegance and design – except in one telling area. They depend on a 1914 EMS model during life safety emergencies, and as a result are among the most dangerous buildings in which to live or work.
EMS Needs Upgrading with Cellular Communications
A century ago New York had high rises, elevators, motorized fire trucks and ambulances, phones and dispatchers. That, and a lot more traffic is all we have today, regardless of the advent of definitive treatments such as AEDs for defibrillation, naloxone for opioid overdoses etc. that require early intervention. These are very rarely used successfully because they need to be delivered promptly by someone already onsite.
Historically, security officers have been largely limited to O&R (observe and report) duties, and they invariably must wait for EMS to arrive to assist with emergencies. A Northwest firm, Elevaed Medical Inc. has evolved a new Life Safety Protocol™ that promises to lower response times from an estimated 13 minutes down to 3 minutes, by utilizing these security personnel as EMR’s (emergency medical responders).
Cutting to the Chase
The new protocol begins with a resident or worker in a high rise suite sensing a life emergency (e.g. chest pains, difficulty breathing) and presses an icon on his/her cellphone, or if still capable, calls the “life safety number”. This sends a prepared text (SMS message) or ringtone to a LifePad™ cellular wall phone at the main security station. The monitoring guard notes the suite number and any volunteered medical history, and takes a door key and a medical bag directly to the victim, to be alongside within 3 minutes from onset.
Elevaed CEO Dwight Jones says “This extended gap without first care is an endemic risk for these buildings that is no longer acceptable. Early intervention is the critical factor during life crises – security personnel and cellular communications are going to restore this key link in the Chain of Survival, dramatically and reliably.”
For EMR’s, 16-40 hours of training is required, in addition to security training.
“This is where EMS works in perfect tandem with Security.” says Jones “Veteran paramedics will find late-career employment, passing on local EMS policies and what they have learned about rescue realities. The deep value of the protocol for building occupants will improve security revenues, wages, and be welcomed by property managers and municipalities.”
The potential savings to families and society, spared the tragedy of premature death or organ injury, are incalculable.
Elevaed is assembling a single cloud computing platform to administer the LifePad phones and mobile conference calls between security, the patient’s suite and 911 dispatch. The new procedure promises to filter unwarranted calls and identify acute incidents early, allowing EMS to tailor their response.
Elevaed spokesman Charles McGlade believes “The risk is endemic, the solution is early intervention via the protocol…there’s an opportunity here for security firms to step forward and work shoulder-to-shoulder with EMS, as a needed bridge to community health.”
The company is actively seeking joint ventures with major security firms to partner in the development and deployment of the shared network in 2015.