Tuesday, October 5, 2010 Here is a routine call that should make you stop and think next time you respond to a medical alert call. Engine 18 responded to a Life Alert Alarm (button activated medical alarm). It was told to them by dispatch that an 82-year-old male lived at the residence. It also stated he had multiple medical problems and a neighbor had a door key. When they arrived at the house it was locked, they retrieved a door key from a neighbor and entered the house. When they entered the house they noticed a strange smell. They called for the homeowner but got no answer. When they searched the house they found the 82-year-old resident in the back bedroom lying motionless with a gun in his hand and another one by his side. He had a gunshot wound to the head. They then realized the strange smell was gunpowder and the homeowner was DOA. The engine company called for PD and relayed to dispatch that it appeared this was a self inflicted GSW, as there was what appeared to be a suicide note. They stated they were "code 4" (all OK) and backed away from the room and waited for PD. It turns out the homeowner conversed with his brother the day before and they talked of having a caregiver come to the home to help care for him. This must have not been how he wanted to live so he wrote the note, grabbed his guns, hit the Life Alert medical alarm and fired away, ending his life.
LESSONS LEARNED: Everything turned out fine in this instance but how many times do we go to an unknown aid medical alert activation and how many times do we enter a residence and we don't know exactly what's going on. This is just a reminder to be heads up at all times, don't become complacent, trust your gut, let PD enter the unknown and be careful out there! Typically this department stages for PD when the scene is un-secure, but nothing triggered anyone to think that it wasn’t. Thanks for this website I read it all the time.