Friday Five – Five Moments That Have Impacted My Service

March 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’ve been overly nostalgic recently, remembering the things that brought me into EMS and the things that have planted themselves firmly into my memory of my career in EMS.  There have been many incidents that have helped me, improved my skills, cemented my desire to do this job.  Today I thought I’d share with you some of those incidents.

Five Moments That Have Impacted My Service

1.  My First Call – I’m sure most people in Fire/EMS, even those who have been in greater years than I have been around, remember that first call. My first call was a syncople episode brought on by an irregular heart rate. The patient was a sweet elderly woman who was at an annual food/drink festival. I was working the standby and “technically” shouldn’t have been on the truck. I still had three months before I reached the standard riding age (16).  We transported her to the closest hospital (which is now closed) and while the ALS provider, Anne Rawls, (who played a strong role in developing my skills as an EMS provider), filled out the paperwork, the driver (a volunteer FF) and I joked about the standard cake and ice cream I was no expected to buy. It wasn’t much, but after three years of helping around the station, answering phones, and tracking paperwork, riding on the ambulance for my first call, truly reminded me of why I wanted to volunteer.

2.  Responding to the Pentagon – Like so many others both fire/rescue and civilian, I was HUGELY impacted by the events of September 11, 2001. However, I had the unique experience of actually responding to the incident and serving a tour (24 hour period) on grounds. My job was coordinating the amazing massage therapists the Office of EMS had sent to provide physical relief to the workers in the building and on the grounds. As we drove up, I remember seeing the light poles bent over like match sticks and realized I was looking at the path the plane took when it approached the building.  The people I interacted with, whether Federal, State, Local, church, private, etc., were all so willing to help in any way possible. I remember being so moved when, as I watched a group of people gather on a hill not far from activities, I realized they were family members of those who had been in the building when the plane hit. For the longest time, driving past the Pentagon on my way into DC was one of the hardest activities I had to do.

3.  Teaching/Testing out  my first EMT class – At the ripe old age of 21, I was standing in front of my EMS peers, literally, since many of them I had known for years already. I stood in front of the class realizing that I was now the expert.  I was the one that they relied on to give them the knowledge, and that patient care would be impacted by me. All but two fo the students were older than me and I had nothing but the DOT curriculum and my Brady Emergency Care text in front of me (no powerpoint for that class).   I remember how nervous I was on the night they tested, and how excited I was when I realized that 100% of the students passed.  While every class since then has been special, that first class led me down the path of teaching/instruction and I couldn’t be more thankful for each of those students.

4.  Department Funerals – Honestly, I can’t pick just one funeral because unfortunately there have been many. any time I attend a funeral for one fo my brothers and sisters in the service I am impacted. Whether or not I knew them personally, the service, the words, the camaraderie shown are always something that stick in my heart. I’ve lost money squad members that I was close with and I’ve attended funerals for fire, police, and EMS. While I can only hope to never attend another, I know that it is a slim expectation. I also know though, that during those times when we are all grieving, the support provided by those close and far away will leave a lasting impression!

5.  The birth of my children – Okay, this may seem odd, but my children have truly impacted my service in Fire/EMS/Emergency management on a daily basis. I strive to be a better provider. I want them to see that service to the community is extremely important. That when you commit to something, whether a job or a volunteer position, you give 100% and do so as a professional. I work to show my kids that you plan for anything no matter how silly it may seem. My kids have given me experience that I can take back to the classroom in my lectures, and have made me raise my standards because I continue to think that my students could one day treat my children.  I’ve also been much more aware of my safety during calls.  Why? Because I want to be able to go home to them at the end of the day!

So those are the moments. I know it’s a bit deep for a post on a friday, but I definitely think it is important to reflect back, especially at a time when you may be struggling with a decision, with a choice, with the future.

So, what are you moments?  Also, don’t forget to enter the contest for a free copy of my book Incident Command For EMS. The deadline is next Friday!

Until then, stay safe and don’t forget to follow on Twitter (@stickysidedwn)



§ 2 Responses to Friday Five – Five Moments That Have Impacted My Service

  • My first call was only the third call my college squad ever ran, around April 2002. About 12 of us started a new squad following a cardiac arrest on campus. I had been an EMT for 1 month and since the other two on my crew lacked experience as well, I was the crew chief too! A campus cop caught a student smoking pot in a stairwell and because the student was high as a kite, called us. We took vitals, saw that the kid wasn’t going to die, put him in bed and left. I had to go back to his room an hour later just to get a refusal signed (I forgot that minor detail). I have to laugh now because of how ridiculous the entire call was, from the student to the responders.

    • EMS says:

      That’s outstanding! My college started an EMS squad after I graduated,but I can only imagine the kinds of calls we would have had.It’s always nice when the first call is one you can look at fondly.

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