The first thing you learn in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training is what’s called “scene safety and body/substance isolation.” In other words, when you arrive at the scene of a 911 call, you have to first determine whether it’s safe enough to reach your patient, and ensure that your body is protected from any hazardous fluids or gases in the vicinity. This concept is extremely important—in your day-long certification test, if you fail to start every scenario with “scene safety and BSI,” you fail the entire thing and go home. The logic is simple—you’re there to help the patient, but you can’t do it if you’re in danger yourself. If EMTs are going to provide good care, the EMTs have to be taken care of as well.
Unfortunately, the moment they finish submitting their incident paperwork, the principle is forgotten. Nobody cares about what happens to the EMTs until the next call comes in. It’s one reason American emergency services are steadily on the road to disaster.