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How To Save A Life

How To Save A Life

I think most firefighters would agree that a good call has some element of “fun” in it.

I’m not talking about the kind of fun that you have with a board game or a funny movie, it’s way more serious than that, but knocking down a good fire (one where no-one is in danger) produces an enjoyment unlike any other.

Unfortunately, we don’t get that many good fires. Better building construction, better fire prevention, and common sprinkler systems have drastically reduced the amount of “big” calls we have anywhere in the nation. This is a good thing for citizens, but it has changed the face of firefighting a little.

In between the fires, we fill the time with all manner of medical calls, and I’ll be honest in saying they aren’t quite as much fun.

Usually they’re minor: an asthma attack, a mild heart attack, or a diabetic emergency. We apply oxygen, gather vitals, help package them into the ambulance and go home. A few are dead simple: we get our fair share of older persons who just fell over without injury and need a hand to get back up, or motorists on icy roads who slid off into a ditch.

Occassionaly there’s just nothing we can do, like if someone is found dead in their home or has sustained a traumatic injury that’s just inconsistent with life.

It can be rewarding, touching, or devastating, but I’ve never experienced that same kind of fierce adrenaline rush that I do in the face of flames. Never, that is, until this past new years eve.

That’s a day I’ll never forget.

It’s the last day of December. It’s cold out, and quiet, we haven’t run a single call in 2 days. I’m glad to finally get into bed, it’s one of those nights where I’d be happy to get no calls at all (as green as I am, it’s not very often I feel that way).

I sleep hard, not even coming up to the partly-conscious state that I usually do when calls are going out for other stations. I may have dreamed, but all I remember is blissful unconsciousness.

Alas, my sleep is not destined to be undisturbed.

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