Paramedic Students Given Unique Perspective on Aging

By:      Lieutenant Christopher Zach, NREMT-P
EMS Training
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

The VCU paramedic students have worked hard over the last few months to further their knowledge of many different types of disease processes. In addition to countless hours in the classroom, working shifts in the emergency department and various hospital rotations, the students are required to write and act out medical scenarios so that they can have a deeper appreciation of what it’s like to be the patient.

The students continue to progress through their program, and have recently completed the geriatric portion of the class. In order to give them a unique perspective of the lifestyle changes, impact from aging, and daily needs that an elderly patient may have, the students participated in a series of events called “The Geriatric Olympics.” Each event simulated daily activities that senior citizens would normally do with one catch; the students had to be “aged” to go through the activities. They were dressed and restricted in such a way that would emulate what it is like to have some of the more common diseases that the geriatric population may experience.

Students were required to wear gloves and Paramedic Students Given Unique Perspective on Agingshoes with beans in them to diminish their ability to sense where they step or how they feel an object in their hands, simulating neuropathy. They also had to wrap their knees, elbows, and finger joints to simulate arthritis. To top it off, the students wore lab goggles that were smeared with Vaseline and colored with black dots in the center to simulate a combination of both glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Once they were “aged to perfection”, the students had to go for walks and do simple exercises. Next, they had to pick up a phone and make a doctor’s appointment. Prior to the appointment, they had to read from a prescription Paramedic Students Given Unique Perspective on Agingbottle and take the correct amount of “medication”. Finally, they had to go to their “doctor’s appointment” (a staff member’s office), discuss medication dose changes, accept their new prescription, and sign a check for their co-pay. Upon leaving the appointment, the students needed to implement the new medication regimen accurately for the remainder of the exercise, stopping to take their “medication” when due. The students very quickly learned how difficult it can be to accomplish these routine daily tasks. By the end of the day, they were exhausted.

The next day, the students took a trip to a local nursing home in order to get to know the residents there and help out with activities and lunch. The VCU students sat and talked to some of the residents during lunch, and afterwards participated in a game of bingo. Students and residents had a great time as they learned from this very unique experience.

Paramedic Students Given Unique Perspective on Aging

Unattended Cooking Causes Herndon Townhouse Fire

newsupdateOn Thursday, April 27, at approximately 1:43 a.m., units were dispatched for a report of a townhouse fire in the 800 block of Sycamore Court in the Town of Herndon.

Units arrived on scene to find smoke showing from the front of a three-story, end unit townhouse. Firefighters entered the home and found a fire in the kitchen on the first floor. The fire was quickly extinguished and contained to the first floor.

The home was occupied by three adults and one child at the time of the fire. One of the occupants discovered the fire after smelling an odor of something burning in the kitchen. All safely evacuated the home prior to fire department arrival.

There were three smoke alarms located in the structure but the fire was discovered prior to the smoke alarms sounding.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in the kitchen area. The cause of the fire was accidental in nature and was caused by unattended food cooking on the stove.

A total of four occupants were displaced due to the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and accepted. There were no reported firefighter injuries. One civilian was transported to an area hospital for evaluation.

Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $25,000.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would also like to remind all residents about cooking safely. Please remember to “Watch What You Heat!

Kitchen Safety Tips

  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking. Long loose sleeves are more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles.
  • Keep things that can catch fire such as dish towels, curtains, or paper, at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Do not leave cooking food unattended. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Turn pot handles inward, facing the wall to prevent burns caused by overturning or spills.
  • Pot holders or oven mitts prevent burns when handling hot dishes.
  • Regularly clean your cooking equipment so that there are no cooking materials, food items or grease accumulation.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid until it is completely cool.
  •  If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.

Sons Of The American Revolution Honor Two Firefighters

The Sons of The American Revolution (SAR), Colonel William Grayson Chapter, recently presented their Public Safety Commendation awards to two members of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

Mr. Bill Collier, SAR Public Safety Committee Chair, stopped by Fire Station 40, Fairfax Center, to present Master Technician Joel Kobersteen (Fire Station 40/B-Shift) with the Fire Safety Commendation. He also presented Technician Eric Provow (Fire Station 21, Fair Oaks, B-Shift) with the Emergency Medical Services Award.

Congratulations Master Technician Kobersteen and Technician Provow!

Merrifield House Fire Determined To Be Arson

On Sunday, April 23, at approximately 6:55 p.m., units from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and Arlington County Fire Department were dispatched for a house fire in the 2800 block of Hyson Lane in the Merrifield section of Fairfax County. 

Upon arrival, units found a one-story, single family house with fire visible from inside a front room. Bystanders reported seeing four children playing in the home prior to the fire. Units simultaneously extinguished the fire and searched the home for occupants. No one was found. It was determined the home was uninhabited at the time of the fire.

A neighbor discovered the fire and called 911. The neighbor also reported seeing four juveniles flee the scene.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in the living room. The cause of the fire was incendiary in nature. Fire Investigators determined that there were four juveniles involved and charges are pending. 

There were no reported firefighter or civilian injuries. Red Cross assistance was not needed.

Damages as a result of the fire are approximately $128,587.

 

 

Unattended Cooking Causes Fairfax House Fire

On Sunday, April 23, at approximately 11:11 a.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Fairfax Fire Department were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 4400 block of San Marcus Drive in the Fairfax section of Fairfax County.

First arriving units found a two-story, single family home with smoke coming from the front door and rear windows. Firefighters discovered a fire in the kitchen area of the home that was rapidly spreading from the stove to the cabinets. The fire was quickly extinguished and damage was contained to the kitchen.

The home was occupied by one adult and four children at the time of the fire. One of the occupants discovered the fire after smelling an odor of something burning in the kitchen. The homeowner called 9-1-1 and all occupants safely evacuated the home prior to fire department arrival.

There were three smoke alarms located in the home. The occupants discovered the fire prior to the smoke alarms sounding.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in the kitchen area. The cause of the fire was accidental in nature and was caused by unattended food cooking on the stove.

There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries. A total of five occupants were displaced due to the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered but declined.

Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $18,000.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would also like to remind all residents about cooking safely. Please remember to “Watch What You Heat!

Kitchen Safety Tips

  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking. Long loose sleeves are more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles.
  • Keep things that can catch fire such as dish towels, curtains, or paper, at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Do not leave cooking food unattended. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Turn pot handles inward, facing the wall to prevent burns caused by overturning or spills.
  • Pot holders or oven mitts prevent burns when handling hot dishes.
  • Regularly clean your cooking equipment so that there are no cooking materials, food items or grease accumulation.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid until it is completely cool.
  •  If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.