It snowed again on Friday. Here O1 plays in the driveway.


Here’s my locker at work. The stuffed animals were placed in there months ago as a practical joke… Maybe fifty of them. The rest have gone on to homes through donation but I still have these four. I like them. Plus, they help hide the piles of candy I keep hidden in my locker. You can see a bag of Smarties peeking out from between Garfield and the bunny.

On the right side, you can see an ‘I heart tobacco’ pin, also remnant of a joke. Those grey things are earmuffs. The plastic bag on the left holds a 500ml bag 9% of sodium chloride solution. I have no idea why that’s in there. The yellow helmet is my backup helmet. My paid department used to issue the ‘modern style’; that’s the one I was initially issued when I started. About a year ago, the department switched over to ‘traditional’ style helmets. I was issued one of those but turned it in when I bought my own (Cairns 1000). I now use my own at both departments and shuttle it back and forth. I keep the ‘modern’ one around in case I forget to pick up my traditional at my volunteer department on my way to work at the paid department. My traditional helmet is not in this picture since I am at work… When I am here, my turnout gear lives either in a locker on the ambulance or in a pile on the apparatus floor between the two trucks I am most likely to ride; A-1 (the first ambulance) or E-1 (the first engine).


Here’s the bottom part of my locker. You can see the ‘Keep It Up’ kit discussed previously, a bunny bag on the left side, a bit of extension cord poking out from behind my civvie coat, a spare jumper (in case the one I’m wearing gets bloody, vomity, or otherwise placed out of service), my pacifier, and the end of a extension cord made (albatross-like) into a necklace. The handwritten note informs my coworkers that they are to give me my pacifier whenever I start to cry. The blue bag at the bottom is my own primary first-in bag; I have the stuff that shouldn’t freeze in it and take it in and out of the car; the rest of the crap just lives in the trunk of the car. I don’t use any of my own stuff at this department, anyway, so the bag spends my shifts in the locker.


We spent some time today driving around town digging out hydrants.


The snow’s deep here.

Some guy came out of his house and complained about us collecting overtime to dig out hydrants. Of course, us part-timers have to work 100 hours in a two-week pay period to collect overtime; my usual 96 doesn’t make it. The town hates to pay overtime, anyway. In any event, we made a mental note to delay response to any alarms at this person’s house.

Just kidding.


Some snowballs were thrown. This guy is not working today and just came in to hang out. That happens a lot, actually. The guy in the back (one of the twins) is a Firefighter/EMT who made the mistake of picking a fight with us two geezers. He’s now wearing a snowmobile helmet for protection.


Here’s the response board from earlier today. This shows that Whitehouse is the shift officer, Payne and Shedd are on the primary ambulance, and Whitehouse is on the primary engine. The fourth person on shift is not on the board for some reason. If the primary ambulance goes out, the engine crew staffs the second ambulance in case of a call. If that one goes out, the dispatcher tones for coverage. If the engine goes out, we all go out and dispatcher tones for coverage. Coverage can be hard to find for garden-variety calls although in the case of a structure fire, people are showing up before the primary engine rolls (~1 minute).


This is detail of the board showing our todo list for today. Truck checks are first order of the day; we go through and run all of the equipment on the red trucks and check stock and operation on the white trucks. We did have a parade today; the local high school girl’s basketball team won the state championship. We met their bus at the interstate with an engine and ambulance and escorted them back into town, lights and siren. I led the parade driving the engine but was told the line of cars accompanying and celebrating the team was two miles long.

I switched over to the red truck this evening. We happen to have three EMT-I’s on at present; I’m the only I-tech who is also a certified firefighter so I get to hang around and wait. It’s not so bad; chances are that the ‘second call’ will be interesting. Also, my chances of sleeping uninterrupted through the night are much better. The down side is that should we have an actual fire call, I’m the truckie and get stuck running the pump rather than skipping merrily about putting the wet stuff on the red stuff. Shift changes at 0600 tomorrow; Mrs. Turquoise and I will be on the primary ambulance tomorrow, as usual.

So, the extension cords. We plug in the trucks when they are in the station. This keeps the batteries charged and supplies power to various things; the IV warmer, the heart monitor charger, radio chargers. The plug is supposed to autoeject when you turn on the ignition. The ejector quit working in A-1 some time ago; not a big deal… You just pull out the plug on your way to get in the truck. For some reason, I’ve been having a hard time with that and have driven out with the thing plugged into the ambulance four times in three weeks. The plug has a special breakaway on it so you (I) don’t pull the building down. You do, though, end up driving around town with a four foot section of extension cord hanging off the back of the truck. So, I’ve taken a certain amount of grief over that. I stopped in earlier this week to find about 100′ feet of extension cord in my locker. I seem to have finally gotten over my problem, happy to say.


People come in frequently when not working. This is a lunchtime from two weeks ago. Three of the five people in this picture are not working and have just stopped in to hang out. I guess that’s the nature of emergency services. Everyone listens to the regional dispatch channel all of the time, even when not at work; everyone knows what is going on. It’s quite usual for people to stop in just to see what’s happening at the ‘house or to exchange details about recent calls. It seems weird but it is very familial. Kids and significant others are welcome, of course.

I go through a lot of Smarties; maybe a bag every other shift. I originally started buying them for myself but then started giving them out to almost everyone I come into contact with at work… Not patients, though. Everyone seems to really enjoy getting the Smarties and I get a big thrill out of spreading a little bit of cheer.

Several weeks ago we went to a trailer fire (pictures previously posted). I happened to have two Smarties in my jumper pocket when I went to the fire. Somehow the smoke got to them and so I have struck upon an awesome new taste sensation; Smokehouse Smarties. No one else seems interested in trying them, though. Perhaps it’s an idea what’s time has not yet come.