We got a call for a fall. It came out as an ‘alpha’ response which means that the call was categorized as non-emergency and we go sans lights and sirens. The call was in a local apartment building. We got into the building easily as it was the middle of the day and there were lots of people milling around the lobby. We got upstairs and to the apartment and heard a tiny voice coming from the other side of the locked door. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get to the door!” Crap. We both tried the knob again in vain, just to make sure. I went back downstairs, certainly someone there could get us a key of some sort. “Um...do any of you know where I can find the leasing or maintenance office? I need a key.” “Sure. Are you a relative?” I look down at my uniform and radio just to be sure they were still there. “No, someone called 911 and we need to get into the apartment.” “Oh, well whose apartment is it? “Um...I don’t no.” I said slowly as I glanced at the ambulance outside. “Oh right, well the maintenance office is over here, he’s not in, but I can call him.” “Great.” Minutes passed. More minutes passed. Not only will our dispatch notice that we haven’t transported yet, let alone made patient contact, I know that there is an old lady on the floor of her apartment wondering where we are. Finally the maintenance man emerged. He held the elevator for us, and some other residents tried to bustle onto it. “Sorry, this one’s an express.” he said, escorting them away. I was relived to see that at least one person realized that someone in the building called an ambulance and that might merit a sense of urgency.
We got into the apartment no problem after that and found a lady on the floor of her bathroom. She said that she tripped over the rug and simply couldn’t get up. She didn’t appear to have any injuries so we picked her up and walked her to her living room. We asked if we could do anything else for her. She said as a matter of fact, yes. Pointing to her answering machine, she told us that it kept telling her she had a low battery, but she couldn’t get the battery cover off. I pulled out my trusty knife and unscrewed the battery compartment. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any fresh 9 volts so we had to leave her without a replacement. But we got her in a chair she could safely get out of, and made sure the remote and newspaper were within her reach. Sometimes we get to just help people.