Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grey Fox, the 4 day duty crew

 So let me give you a little background on this Bluegrass Festival and why I am back for another year. I am not very good at counting heads, but I believe the gate for this event is about 10,000 people, for 4 days. Most folks come and camp right here at the site, which was, just two weeks ago, a working hay field. The last cutting was done just last week, before they cut the roads and laid out the site. There are a LOT of people and campsites. They come in all manner of vehicles, from cars to campers, to buses, and they set up some weird stuff in the interest of having a good time. Some have been making this trip for 20 years. There are lots of kids running around, it's family time for many. It's drinking and picking time for others. You can find some photos here to give you the flavor.
 The Festival (music) starts on Thursday, but the gate opens on Wednesday morning at 0700 sharp. There is a line to get in. I would love to go up early, but can't get the vacation time. EMS Staff are required to report by Wednesday evening (we have a briefing at 1900) and the shift assignments are roughed out. Each volunteer is required to give 4 hours a day to earn their keep, but many of us work more because it's easy work and we are having a good time. In my case, I mostly do a walking patrol with a partner to keep an eye on the folks in the camping areas, the 4 other stages, or the Main Stage. With an assignment like that what difference does it make if I am on duty or off, that's what I would do anyway, walk around. Plus, while I am on duty, nothing is off limits except the Green Room. Backstage, VIP seating, and every place else is open to us.
 What we receive in return for our highly skilled and professional services (I know you're wondering) is a full pass for the weekend which includes camping and normal access when we are not working, as well as 3 square (and incredibly good) meals each day we are there. I have never been treated better as a Volunteer than I have at Grey Fox......never.
 So how busy can we expect to be? Not much, considering the demographics. We call ourselves "The Stinky Foot Patrol" because mostly what we get are foot injuries from folks who are not used to walking on a freshly cut hayfield. We get folks who have the wrong shoes, or old shoes, or no shoes. We get folks who arrived with an open foot wound and now it's become really ugly because they are walking around in sandals. We get a LOT of 'foot stuff'. Fortunately, we have on our staff a number of kind and caring RN's who easily and compassionately clean, dry, treat, and dress all these wounds. They offer advice to get the patients through the rest of the weekend. We give a lot of advice to people on how to enjoy the weekend and take care of their own medical issues at the same time. We also get the occasional 'true emergency' like anaphalaxis, diabetic issues, and the rare chest pains. Mostly, it's feet, dehydration, and sunburn. But the people are very nice and appreciate the help, so it's all good. The work is fun if nothing else. We average about 7 people transported during the 4 days. Al transports are handled by local EMS, which we work well with.
 Our staff is composed of EMT's, Ski Patrollers (OEC), a couple of CFR's, several RN's, a PA or two, a few Paramedics, and other odd medical disciplines. Of course, many of the folks carry multiple credentials like Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness EMT, OR Nurses, and we even have an EMT who is a Dentist. It's a neat crew. The RN's like doing the wound care but back off when an emergent case comes in because they don't have the tools, facilities, and drugs they are used to having. On the other hand, the EMT's shy away from the wound care and foot washing, preferring to work on 'something with a little more meat'. Infection control is not something EMT's deal with very often. So we have a very nice symbiotic staff that works well. In addition, we come from all over the northeast, so we don't see each other more than once a year. We enjoy getting to know each other and share tricks and techniques.
 So that's a little about how things layout her. Now lets see what the weekend brings.

1 comment:

  1. Thinking about you. We're not going to be able to make it down- although I am currently fairly close. Our houseguest has other preferences.
    Meanwhile, we're gearing up for our similar gig next weekend, and we'll plan to put Grey Fox on our schedule for next year.
    If you can, go hear Cornerstone.