Monday morning, my FD pager went off regarding a car off the road nearby. As I got my clothes on, the pager reported no injuries. I drove over to the firehouse. It was snowy and very slippery.

As a probationary member, I have to leave my turnout gear at the firehouse. They also really like the firefighters to go to the firehouse rather than direct to an incident for various reasons; to make sure the apparatus gets picked up, to reduce traffic and parking congestion at the scene, to enable the chief to understand the number and skills of personnel responding early in the process so that they can make deployment decisions, blah, blah.

On medical calls, I have been asked to stop by the firehouse to get the AED, and that seems to make good sense… I may be two or three minutes later on scene, but if I show up with the AED, the presence of the AED may be more important than the few minutes required to get it. If another FF (all are non-EMT) arrive first, they know how to perform immediate basic life support as well as I do. I’m told that the ambulance squad is going to get me an AED for the car, in which case I’ll suggest to the fire department that I should just go direct on medical calls.

I was first at the firehouse. By the time I wiggled into my stiff gear, two of the officers had arrived. One of them (who I think of as ‘Fire Department Lady’) told me to go in the engine with the other officer. So I rode to the accident scene in the fire engine. It was heady.

The accident was quite minor; the roads were slick and a car had spun and slid off the road on a sharp corner of a main road, coming to rest against a tree above a forty foot drop. If the tree had not been there, the car would have gone over the edge.

The local fire and police chiefs were there. Our chief waved us to a spot and we parked.

I directed traffic for about a half an hour. It was a pleasant way to spend the time. My turnout gear is warm and comfortable… Ask me again in August, right? The only problem I had was an inability to key the radio (to communicate with the other traffic director at the other end of the accident scene area) with my fire fighting gloves, so I had to keep taking one of them off and putting it on again.

After the undamaged car had been pulled back onto the road, we cleared the scene and went back to the firehouse.

The police chief stopped by and spoke with us for a while. He said that the town constable, a nice name for dog-catcher, would not be ‘running’ again this year and would anyone be interested in doing the job? He looked at me. I played dumb. I guess he thinks I’m okay, though. I had dealt with him several times regarding our idiot ex-tenant stealing the dishwasher and I had gotten the impression he thought I was a thorn in his side. Lately, though, he’s seen me at three accidents and one medical call for two departments, and I was providing care at three of them. He did yell at me at the first fire department incident I was at, but he seems to have gotten over that.

I responded to a medical call just before I went to California, and before I had discussed what I should do on medical calls with the officers.

I went over to the firehouse like a good probationary member and waited for someone to show up to tell me what to do (okay, I know what I should do, but in any organized response you need to function within your protocols and subject to direction from your incident command structure… Skate your lane, no freelancing).

After a few minutes, I realized no one was coming (it was during the day, and from the page one could tell it was non-critical). I knew an officer was going direct and that the paid service was on its way. I drove over to the patient’s house. A pickup belonging to the deputy fire department chief was there. I grabbed my jump kit and went in.

The patient was sitting in a chair. My immediate impression was that this patient was not critical. There were two relatives there in addition to the deputy chief and the patient. The four of them were discussing family current events. Based on my visual assessment, I decided not to take vital signs (although, in retrospect, I should have). One of the relatives was finishing up a patient’s medication list (very helpful). I took some history from her.

The police chief showed up after a while, then ambulance. The deputy chief and I went out and got the cot, then wheeled the patient out. I knocked a few things over with my innate clumsiness, and frightened the patient by accidently pressing the cot back-support release while we were moving him. Everyone else seemed pretty patient with me, though. Heh, patient.

The police chief held traffic while the ambulance left, then he thanked me and the deputy chief and we variously drove off.

Several days later at the firehouse, I was told that I would get to know the address as this patient was one of our frequent flyers.

Last night I missed the ambulance squad business meeting. The time has changed from following the training at the rich squad’s depot to preceeding the training, starting at 5:30. I was not present at the last meeting, either; it had been rescheduled to a time I was in California. In my absence, I was elected to squad assistant coordinator.

The training was pretty interesting; it was given by a cop/EMT and covered drugs; drugs that form the EMT-Intermediate pharmacology, common prescription medications we might see in our patients, and illicit drugs that we are likely to see on our calls. I was surprised at the frank ignorance of drug culture knowlege among the trainees and the misconceptions in the apparent police institutional knowledge… I refrained from pointing these out. The trainer recommended Trainspotting for its depiction of heroin usage and symptoms. He said that most cops that are killed or injured are dealing with methamphetamine.

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