Friday, May 11, 2007
For Barista/You asked
On my Perspective of firefighting/E.M.S.
Just a few years out of High School I Joined the Sanders County Sheriff Search and Rescue. I had friends that were in it and they talked me into joining. It was the start of my downward spiral of emergency services volunteering. I was in Search and Rescue 4 years and some of the people I knew said,” Hey we need some more warm bodies in the Fire Dept.” Well now… Fire? ……… Doug Like fire!…. Oh, you want me to put it out not start it, hmmm Let me think about it. You say “Doug Learn to Drive WOO WOO” (fire engine) “OK ME JOIN”. When I first started it was a good ol’ boy Department, with 6 sets of turnouts. What? What happens to the rest of the Guys when they show up to fight fire…wear their street clothes? Yup, we did and we didn’t wear our S.C.B.A. cuz then we had to drive 25 miles to get the bottles filled. And a lot of other stupid stuff, and we survived. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for smoke these days, I smell smoke before other people can identify it but most of my olfactory senses are scorched. So I did 10 years in the Montana Dept. and it was fun. We always had beer in the fridge and there were a lot of really good stories. We had an average of ½ a house fire a year and a lot of wildland fires and in the winter. We averaged about 4 chimney fires a month (damn it people clean your flues) So total we would get about 120 calls a year, fairly slow as stuff goes. Had some sad times No one likes to lose a house and leave a L.W.B.S. (large wet black spot). Then Montana adopted and recognized the First Responder program and it was put on in our area by the Community Ambulance Group, My wife and I went through together (yes Mrs. Fireman has been a firefighter and EMT-basic and In search and rescue also) I remember our first call, 1 car rollover, 3 patients. What a zoo. What I remember the most about it is that a BP cuff put on inside out won’t work …..flat out ….no way, Hmmmmm. I have missed Christmas mornings and Thanksgiving diners And Lots of sleep, been told by drunks I didn’t know shit, spit at, swung at, And had to tell people that asked if there loved ones were going to make it “I don’t know” when I really knew there wasn’t a snowballs chance in hell. Body recoveries have always left me with nightmares, I got over them but there are still a few that come back. But once in a while there would be that rare moment when everything came together and the outcome was good and someone said “thank you’ and all the bad stuff seamed to melt away.
And I would Do it all again.