Keeping firefighters motivated for EMS

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The officer in charge of the advanced life support (ALS) engine company does not have to be the one who keeps the crew engaged in emergency medical services (EMS), but he certainly can be. Most firefighters enter the profession with the understanding that they will be responding to EMS calls. What they may not know […]

Until it’s over

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There comes a time when a firefighter knows it’s time to say when. Usually, we know it long before we actually retire. Climbing icy ladders, hauling charged lies up burned-out stairways, looking for pulses on mangled bodies, and showing up again and again wears a person down. The thrill of the job—and the love of […]

Witnessing the fall of civilization

Entry Img They argue, and drink, do whatever drugs they can come up with, seldom leave their self-imposed prison, content to stay inside, shoot some dope, drink some vodka, make a baby or two  and throw them out the window when they get in the way of business as usual. Inside the barricades and facades of […]

My head hurts still

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Her door is jammed, the impact pushing the metal into itself, sealing the passenger compartment. Her car is demolished. Shattered glass covers her, blood pours from her eyes. I look quickly to see if the pupils are responsive. They are. The drivers door is only stuck a little, I pry it open and reach in. […]

Cutting through

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She pulled the safety pin out of her arm and handed it to me. Blood poured out of the hole, running from inside her elbow to her wrist. I handed her a few 4×4’s. “Thank you. You’re going to get blood on your sweatshirt.” It was a New York Yankees sweatshirt, but still. She took […]

Firehouse Rules

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There needs to be rules in the firehouse or all is lost. Take for example my favorite concerning leftovers; “If it’s not labeled, it’s fair game, eat it all. If it’s labeled, only eat a little.” or my second favorite; “If there’s a lot, take a lot. If there’s a little, take it all.”   […]

What do you guys talk about all day?

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 We sometimes refer to the cab of whichever ambulance we find ourselves in as “The Cone of Silence.” What is said in the cab STAYS in the cab — unless it is ridiculous, profound or just too good to keep to ourselves! We’re working on a gunshot victim. He’s a young guy, smiling, likely an […]

Private Ceremonies

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The plan was to go to the beach and enjoy one of the last brilliant days of summer. Instead, we sat in front of the TV, shaking our heads when we could move them, calling friends and family and just feeling numb. An eerie silence smothered my neighborhood as the day progressed, the crystal clear […]

The moments that matter most

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The radio cracked to life. “Baxter Street Command to Rescue 1.” I keyed the mic. “Rescue 1, go ahead.” “I need a count.” “One adult, five children in Rescue 1, six adults and five more kids outside.” Those standing outside of the impromptu shelter shivered but managed to look cool doing it. They were teenagers […]

Permanent solution to a temporary problem

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 It’s Sunday, 1230 hours, and we’re dispatched to a home on Wickenden Street for an emotional female. We arrive on scene to find a female crying on the front stairs. She points to a door. It leads to a basement. At the bottom of the stairs, next to the washer and dryer, is a boy […]

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