Chaos. Complete and Utter Chaos

When I event manage, I like things to go to plan. I have spent ages developing a fairly standard way to run an event that works really nicely for me, and tries to anticipate everything that could happen. And nine times out of ten it works, and everything is nicely relaxed, and it’s all good. And then you get those things you just can’t plan for.

I’m running a student event, the basic night out with loud music and plenty of alcohol. I’ve planned for alcohol intoxication and poisoning, fights, stiletto injuries, even drug overdoses (thankfully rare at this University). I have eight first aiders, so plenty of staff, and so far all we’ve had is the usual run of drunk students who started the night a little too fast. I’ve got two people in the hall, being highly visible in high-viz, two caring for our patients, and four more ready and waiting for the next job.

I get a call from the team in the hall. They’ve been called to a patient in the toilets. I acknowledge, and send a team to cover their spot. Another call comes in from campus security. They’ve had reports of someone whose hurt themselves in the car park. It’s not technically our area, but I want security on side, so dispatch the other team I have with me. I go to peak around the corner at our patients, but draw up short when I hear the distinctive sound of vomiting. They’ll be tied up for a while yet.

The team at the toilets checks in, saying they’ve got to the patient and will advise when they know more. All normal. I try to raise the other team, but they’re not talking to me. Probably out of range, no great stress. They have my mobile number.

The first aid room is still, filled only with the quiet reassurance being poured out by the team with their patients.  I like it when it’s like this.  A gentle busyness that says we’re doing our job properly.

A static filled message fills my ear.  “Control, Control, 412, over.”

“Go ahead, 412″

“Control, we’re on scene at a *fuzz*TC.  We’re *fuzz crackle* a hand, and the *hiss*lice.”

I take a mental double take, looking at my radio in confusion.  “Sorry 412, say again.  Did you say you were at an RTC?”

“*hiss crackle* yes, Control.”

“Do you need an ambulance?”

“No *hiss crackle*nor injuries only, all *crackle*afe.  Need a couple more ha*hiss*s.”

“All received, 921.  Contact the police directly, I’ll warn security, and will send someone your way as soon as I can.”

“*hiss crackle*oger, control.”

I’m still a little confused, but make arrangements for the police to get on campus, and dispatch my team in the hall as backup.  In the back of my mind, I make plans about how I’ll deal with another patient, if they turn up.  In my head I have a wonderful idea of how I’ll pull a team back from the RTC, perhaps send one of my people treating in the room next door to replace them.  Hopefully the toilet call will just be another drunk who can be added to the group to be monitored.

“Priority, priority, control 922.”  My wonderful plans flee my mind.  Bollocks.

“Go ahead 922, you have priority.”

“One patient, male toilets, conscious  breathing, chest…”  The radio cuts off, and I have images of a first aider diving to catch a patient that’s just collapsed.  I’m around the corner to the treatment area in a flash, and grab one of the first aider’s attention.

“922, 922 say again.  Confirm you said chest pains in the male toilets, over.”   My colleague looks at me and I nod and point.  He’s off in a blur, stopping only to grab the O2 and AED bags.  I dive into my pocket for my phone.  “922, 922 from Control, over…  922, 922 from Control. Over.”  Silence.  “Nothing heard, 922.  Backup en-route   Control out.”  I curse under my breath.  This was not the time to lose contact with a team.  I want to phone 921, get them to send a team back to me, but don’t want to risk missing a call from 922.  I curse again.  Of all the things I had considered, the combo of an RTC and a chest pains was not one of them, particularly as I’m now completely out of staff.  Things have now officially gone to pot, and there’s nothing I can do except take a deep breath and roll with it.

“Control, Control, 922.”  This is a new voice, the backup I sent taking charge of the radio.  I grab my mic, other hand poised over the 9 key on my phone.  “Go ahead 922, Control over.”

“Stop. Stop. Stop.  Situation under control.  Returning to your location, over.”

“922, confirm that assistance is not required please, over.”

“That is a yes yes, control.  Mobile to your location.”

“Glad to hear it, 922, I look forward to it.  Control out.”  My sigh of relief is loud enough to get a smile from the last remaining first aider in the treatment area.  She grins at me over the head of a vomiting bloke.  I grin back and then look back at my phone when it buzzes a text.  921 was clear as well, and heading back to the first aid room.  I smile again to myself, everything was going to plan again.

I do like it when things go to plan.


This post was written from a prompt on The Daily PostComfort Zone

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About The WalkingPlasterDispenser

So who is the Walking Plaster Dispenser? Well, I'm a volunteer First Aider, working with a well-known First Aid charity to help out random people I've never met before (or, more usually, when) they hurt themselves. This typically involves walking briskly (never run...) around after people who are silly enough to do sports or some other suitably daft activity in their free time. In my spare time, I am a graduate engineer, working my way through a graduate scheme with a big engineering company.

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