30 Second Survey: Experiences With Ambulance & Fire Crews

Two overlapping speech, talk bubbles in more color combinations

In our last 30 Second Survey, we asked about your experiences in a crisis situation with ambulance and fire department crews. Many of you reported positive experiences, but there were several strong exceptions. Most had excellent advice on how crews can improve. Here is a sampling of your responses:

What has your experience been in a crisis situation with ambulance staff? Fire department crews?

  • “Ambulance staff, Fire Dept. Staff & CHP have typically been very patient, kind and professional.”
  • “Fire crew was uneducated in mental health. I had to educate them on my condition.”
  • “One crew member was more understanding and patient, not to mention humane.”
  • “I actually had a great experience with ambulance staff. They were much more patient and understanding during the situation. They took the time to explain what was going on and why along with reassuring me constantly.”
  • “Ambulance crews have been great when transporting my son from ER to psych hospital. But, when they are transporting due to medical emergency (asthma), they started assuming it was a panic attack rather than asthma the minute my son told them he had an anxiety diagnosis even though he had a long history of asthma and knew the difference.”
  • “In a recent experience with two incidences the ambulance crews where very kind and gentle with the patient.”
  • “Arrogant. They talk about you as if you are not there.”

How could they improve the experience?

  • “Be calm, create boundaries for those who may be too distressed to have them, offer concrete contact information in the form of a card with contact names and numbers.”
  • “When transporting a person with mental illness for a medical issue, do not assume that the medical issue is psychosomatic.”
  • “Remember we are humans, people. We live with this but we’re not incompetent idiots from another planet.”
  • “Take CIT!”
  • “They need more training in dealing with mental illness crisis.”
  • “(They) should have been more calm and less demanding.”
  • “I am a living breathing human being.”
This month’s 30 Second Survey asks about your primary care physician’s role in mental health care for you or your loved one.

Take this month’s 30 Second Survey!