Queensland Ambulance officer creates Rural Emergency Mapping Information on iPAD

There was a good story on the ABC rural website this week about Scott Wicks from the Eidsvold Ambulance Station who has taken it upon himself to create an accurate map of his coverage area.

In rural Queensland, it could mean the difference between life and death if a paramedic can not get to an injured patient in time. With so many hazards existing when working in a rural setting, there is a heightened risk of injury ever-present.

Landowners in Queensland’s north Burnett are have been approached by Scott to help him map their properties, which will provide invaluable data in an emergency and could save their lives or the lives of others in a remote location.

Scott made it his mission to contact about 800 properties in Eidsvold, Monto and Mundubbera, asking for clear directions to help work out the best route in case it was ever needed.

So data from about 70 properties has been collated, and added to his tablet device for easy access; a system he calls “REMI” (Rural Emergency Mapping Information).

The idea behind the mapping is to help local and relieving paramedics, who were unfamiliar with the region, to find properties quickly.

“We do work by ourselves a lot, and if we are backing up Mundubbera or Monto, it’s just an easy way for the back-up paramedic and ambulance to find the location as quickly as possible,” Mr Wicks said.

He said there hadn’t been any technical challenges developing the Rural Emergency Mapping tool, although he indicated it has been a job and a half gathering the information.

The REMI is not reliant on WIFI or GPS technology because the information is stored on the tablet.

Some maps also include GPS coordinates to help direct emergency helicopters, along with UHF channels and call signs.

The system was made possible through technology, but also signified a step away from dependency on devices.

“GPS has always been sold to the ambulance service as an  add-on.. but not to be relied on 100 per cent” Mr Wicks said.

The next step, he said, is developing the REMI into an app to send out to other emergency services staff.

What a fantastic idea to help save lives in rural Australia. Being a paramedic does not only mean knowing your pharmacology protocols and how to respond to an emergency, it means a whole lot more than that.

As a paramedic, it’s natural to think through other processes that can help improve the current system and do what we can to save lives. With advances in technology and the ever evolving access to real-time data, there are new inventions, ideas and systems waiting to be discovered… do you have any good ideas?

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