OC Fire Authority asks people to complete medical information forms for emergencies

Jessica De Nova Image
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
OCFA ride-along highlights importance of medical information forms
The Orange County Fire Authority is asking people to complete their Resident Medical Information Form to help them during medical emergencies.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- First responders with the Orange County Fire Authority are asking people living in their response area to complete their Resident Medical Information Form to help them care for patients more efficiently during a medical emergency.

A call to help someone experiencing a heart attack or stroke is just another day on the job for first responders, but for the patient, it could be one of the worst days of their life.

OCFA Capt. Greg Barta said everyone reacts differently in a stressful situation.

"When you're in that emergency situation, you really don't know how you're gonna react," Capt. Barta said.

Regardless, paramedics need medical information fast.

"Seconds matter," Barta added.

During a ride-along with a crew at OCFA Station 76, Eyewitness News learned just how quickly these calls move.

In the middle of our interview with Capt. Barta, a call came in.

"Speaking of, we have a call right now. Let's go on it guys," Barta said.

The medical aid call involved a woman, alert and responsive, having difficulty breathing. The captain briefed his crew with details from the 911 call.

We arrived in less than four minutes after time of dispatch. At that point, it was up to to the patient - if she was able - to provide information.

"Medical history, medications, allergies, hospital preference, emergency contact information - all these pieces of information that we use to help treat a patient effectively and efficiently," Barta said.

This time, the patient's husband did his best to remember important details.

"He was able to provide us some information, but he couldn't remember all the names of the medications, not all of her medical history," Barta said.

Capt. Barta says the Resident Medical Information Form helps in situations like that. Barta said he introduced the form to the department six years ago while working in a community with a large elderly population. Barta said many had trouble communicating.

Whether someone has dementia, a language barrier, is unconscious or just scared, the form completed during a calmer time gives first responders what they need to care for you efficiently in a medical emergency.

Though some information wasn't immediately available in the call during our ride-along, the OCFA crew got the patient to the hospital and her husband to complete the form.

"Prime example of a call that we could've used that medical form and we actually talked to the husband on scene, showed him where to get the form. He said he was gonna download it, print it and have it ready for the next time that they have to call 911," Capt. Barta said.

Anyone interested in completing a Resident Medical Information Form can head to the OCFA's website.