First Aid is a service that some furry conventions provide for their members. Many conventions offer qualified people to perform first aid if a convention guest needs it. First aid furs are generally on duty in shifts, providing 24 hour coverage.
At most conventions, the first aid staff are available to provide first aid (contact ConOps) but also carry radios/pagers and will respond to any reported medical issues, to offer their assistance in line with their training and skill levels. Training levels and team sizes vary, with some conventions having multiple Doctors, paramedics and EMTs on staff, with advanced lifesaving skills and equipment, down to volunteers with basic first aid training.
Medical incidents are expected to happen throughout any con (you have several thousand people, all of whom are partying for 12+ hours a day... accidents happen), with staff working in the background treating patients, however occasional incidents occur which provoke a substantial response from medics which gets noticed by attendees, but this is uncommon.
All care is provided as immediate care only, with the expectation that ambulance services or normal GP/family doctor care is sought out for ongoing care.
Various cons structure their departments differently, however the basic layout is:
- Head of Welfare
- Head of Medical
- Deputy Head of Medical
- Medical Team (Consultants, Doctors, Paramedics, EMTs, ECAs and other people with advanced first aid training)
- First Aid Team (People with basic first aid training, able to perform CPR and provide basic care of injuries)
The head of department tends to operate as an on-call senior accountable individual, with the rest of the team operating on a shift pattern, varying between 4,8 and 12 hours a day depending on the convention.
Equipment varies con to con, most will provide basic first aid equipment, with medics bringing gear to their skill level, types of equipment can include:
- Bulleted list item
- Medical gasses (Entonox and Oxygen)
- lifesaving drugs
- Defibrillators/ECGs/Monitoring Equipment
- BLS and ALS gear
some even set up temporary clinics for treating injuries or illness while awaiting ambulances.
Some states have a legal concept on the books known as "expectation of care". This means that if a convention offers "first aid services", a person who becomes injured and fails to (or is unable to) receive any medical assistance from a convention may be entitled to file a claim against the convention in civil court. While most liability insurance policies have "riders" available to offset this risk, it is expensive, and usually out of the budget of a furry convention. As such, a convention running in a state which has "expectation of care" is unable to provide first aid services.
Conventions in states which do not provide first aid services because of these legal issues include:
Cons that provide care will carry insurance for providing first aid, with advanced practitioners providing their own malpractice insurance to cover their activities in line with their skill and training.