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A New Journey: A Female FireMedic's Tale

A New Journey: A Female FireMedic's Tale

Kristen Winters

I remember the exact moment I found out I had to attend the fire academy. It was a year and a half ago.

My knuckles were white from gripping the chair, my palms were clammy, my heart had dropped into my stomach…simply put, I was petrified.

I had spent the last 5 years of my EMS career avoiding that next step. But there I was, sitting in the chief’s office, speechless.

I began my EMS career back in 2003. I enjoyed being a paramedic. It was my first love. I woke up every shift day excited to go to work, knowing I was going to get a chance to help someone, not knowing what the day would bring.

There was one downside to my job, however. I had to drive an hour and a half into the city one way. This became an issue when I received a phone call telling me my son did not get off the school bus. I was in a panic, an hour and a half away, and no one to call for help.

My son was fine, he had decided to join an after school club without telling anyone, but it was a wake-up call. I needed to be closer to home.

I knew being a paramedic was my ace in the hole. All around me are towns that require their employees to be firemedics.

Since receiving my paramedic license, I made the drive to the city because I was adamant about not becoming a firefighter.

Why, on God’s green earth, would I run into a fire when everyone else, including the rats, run out? I had two kids to think about. They needed their mom. No way.

I naively thought I would be able to talk a department into hiring me as just as a medic. I knew there was a shortage of medics, and I was going to capitalize on that.

No such luck. Reality hit, and it hit hard.

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