There are some times when TEMS may be out of service, and in these cases, all calls for service will be transferred to New Orleans EMS, regardless of the location or nature of the call. But, TEMS is almost always in service during the academic school year.
TEMS is a fully licensed ground transport ambulance service. As such, when you request TEMS, you are requesting (and subsequently receiving), an emergent response and attention capable of stabilizing, treating, and transporting acute illnesses and life threats. When you call, an ambulance will respond, with lights and sirens, along with two to four crew members. These crew members comprise of a variety of positions, from EMT students to EMS Supervisors with several years of experience. Additionally, depending on the location of the call and the nature of the call, TEMS can, and often will, activate the 911 system for Advanced Life Support (ALS) from New Orleans Fire Department and New Orleans EMS. These two agencies are the backbone of the public safety system for Orleans Parish, and TEMS strives to work in conjunction with, and not against, them. It is our goal that patients receive the highest quality of care and attention with the lowest response time. Often, that means working with the men and women of the municipal 911 system, something all TEMS members are extremely honored and proud to do.
With that in mind, TEMS would like to offer some suggestions on when to call for help.
This list is not intended to be all inclusive- If in doubt, it is always better to call!
Any of the following symptoms are reasons to call for immediate medical help:
What happens when I call?
When you call either Tulane or Loyola Police Departments, the Dispatcher will answer and ask what your emergency is.
Give the dispatcher the necessary information. Answer any questions that he or she might ask. The dispatchers will ask you as a caller to provide:
- The exact location or address of the emergency. Include nearby intersections, landmarks, the building name, the floor, and the room or apartment number.
- The telephone number from which the call is being made (if it is an on campus number, they will have the extension).
- The caller's name
- What happened - for example, a motor vehicle collision, fire, or fall
- How many people are involved
- The condition of the victim(s) - for example, unconsciousness, chest pains, or severe bleeding
- What help (first aid) is being given
IMPORTANT: do NOT hang up until the dispatcher hangs up. They may have important instructions to relay to you.
After you hang up, return to the victim or wait at the stated location for Tulane or Loyola Police to arrive. They will be able to directly contact Tulane EMS and provide up to date and exact information on both the patient and the location.
After you call...
After you call, the Police Dispatcher pages Tulane EMS over a tone dispatch system. The tones send a page through the radios carried by on duty TEMS members. The crew is quickly assembled and responds based on the call location, their present location, and severity of the call.
When the first crew member arrives on scene, they will quickly assess the severity of the patient's condition. Common questions asked of the patient are those to assess their level of orientation and alertness ("What is your name? Do you know where you are, what today is, and what happened?"). Others include checking for common symptoms of life threats, such as the presence of chest pain, shortness of breath, falls, or hit to the head. If you are the patient or a bystander to a call, remain calm and let the crew work. Try not to crowd the patient or the crew. If a crew member asks you to step back, please do so. Interfering with the work of an EMT while on a call is an offense punishable by law. Crew members can request that you be taken into police custody if necessary, so the best thing to do is step back.
If you are a bystander or witnessed the event, you can provide valuable information to the EMTs on scene. Try to remember exactly what happened when the event occurred. Some details you may think are minor can be very important. Try to remember: Was the patient or victim noticeably ill, in pain, or sick? Does the patient have any preexisting medical conditions or are they on any medications? If the person had a seizure or convulsions, was the entire body shaking or just one part? Did they fall or hit their head? These questions could help the EMTs provide better and more appropriate care for your friends and neighbors- be aware!
If you or someone you know is being transported to the hospital...
Make sure that you or the person going to the hospital has their identification, insurance cards, and other necessary personal information. This information is important for the hospital staff to be able to identify you or the patient and know who to contact in case of emergency. TEMS gladly allows up to one friend or family member to accompany a patient to the hospital.
However, be advised that we will not allow anyone who has consumed drugs or alcohol accompany a patient to the hospital. There are too many liabilities with allowing persons under the influence into an emergency vehicle. In most cases, the passenger must also ride in the front of the ambulance, as the crew must tend to the patient in the patient compartment. If you are accompanying a friend, be prepared for a wait. Hospitals are not very fun, and are quite boring to just sit around in. Trust us- we spend a great deal of time in them. Bring a book or some homework.
Tulane EMS, New Orleans, LA 70118 (504) 451-7176 firstname.lastname@example.org