Thursday, October 28, 2010

... And What Did You Do Before You Got Into EMS...

2315- I'm standing on my front porch, I can hear gunshots in the City coming from across the valley. I'm kicking myself- it's a nice fall night, I wish I had gotten an earlier start so I could walk, run or bike the two miles to the station. But I can't be late- I'm precepting Mel- one of our new Medics.

The shift starts out pretty slow- we check and fuel our ambulance, run some errands, do a couple routine (if there is such a thing) EMS calls. We're dispatched by cell phone at 0440 to do a special detail with the police.

The detail requires us to sit in the parking lot of a fast food place several blocks from where the police are serving a high risk warrant. Unless something goes wrong Mel and I will just sit until they release us.

We get some coffee and pass the time making small talk. Mel asks what I did before I got into EMS...

"Well, I was an automotive technician for a couple years. Pretty good one too. Still like to work on my bikes and stuff."

Mel looked at me with genuine disdain "How the hell does that qualify you to be a Paramedic?"
The dude was really upset.

"Damned if I know Mel. Been working for the City for 12 years, must be doin' something right."

Mel didn't seem at all appeased- he just shook his head and looked away.

After a couple of minutes of silence I asked Mel- " So Mister brand new Paramedic. What did YOU do before you got into EMS?"

" I was a bartender at {name of local club}"

I did a spit take with my coffee and started laughing.

" Bartender huh? Well Mel, I hope your precept time is everything you hoped it would be... and more."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Breaking in the New Medics

Working the overnight with Terri- a new to the City Paramedic with about a dozen years of EMS experience.

Dispatched E-3 (low priority) at 0335 to standby at an apartment fire. We are the fifth or sixth ambulance assigned and are to report to the Command Center a block from the fire.

Terri jumps behind the wheel of our truck, starts it up, flips on the lights & siren and goes tearin' down the Avenue towards the fire. I let her go about a block and a half and then...

"Terri, pull over to the curb here for a second. I'm shutting off the lights."

"Ok, what's up?"

"Where are we going?"

"To a fire standby."

"Have we encountered any traffic?"

"No- it's three thirty in the morning."

"Hmm, do we have a patient?"


"That's right- we don't have a patient. Now, take a quick look in the side mirror. Just verify for me-are we a f****** fire truck?"

"No, we're still an ambulance."

"Huh, I thought so. We're an ambulance going to a standby, E-3. We're not a f****** fire truck."

"Yeah, right, right"

"Then why the f*** are you using the g**d*** lights and siren?"

Photo: Thomas Hawk/