In February when I was working on the Haley Hart Raffle I put together, while at City Hall I saw a brochure
about the Citizens Fire Academy. So, I signed up, no questions asked thinking what a great way to learn about the fire system in my town. I am in week 3 of the 9 week schedule and yesterday I did a ride on. You know where you get to go on the fire truck and watch what they do. I am stoked about this, very excited not sure what all I will see or not see, just ready to experience something new.
I get to the station and they are out on a call. Then upon their return they get called to another call, (I am listening to this on the radio in the fire station
lobby). After being there for about an hour and 15 min one unit arrives back and they usher me right in. I get assigned to any truck that goes out and I have a safety vest in both engines so what call comes in I am going out. They tell me that Sunday's are usually really quite days. I think, "OH great, I missed all of the action. Well, about 15 min later they come in and say a call is getting ready to come in, (they can see it when the 911 call comes in on a computer before it goes out over the radio) anyway, they say come on you are on ____ unit. We are told it is a vehicle accident. I am on a truck that carries all paramedic equipment just like an ambulance and also is a water truck. We get in and get buckled in, I put on the ear phones and you can talk to each person in the truck as well as hear the calls come in. I swear I am getting into the truck and you hear the signal from the show EMERGENCY! back in the 70's. That ERR OOO ERRR
well, whatever you hear that. So we are ready to go and then they say, no we are going to another call, a heart attack call. So we start off on the other call and the other unit heads to the vehicle accident. Mind you the ambulance from our station is still out from the prior calls at the hospital and is not back so we have to use an ambulance from another station that is further away. So we start down the road with the sires blaring and we are going to a trailer park. Gravel roads, no road signs, thank GOD they knew where they were going because I would still be looking for the location.
Pass into another County, and we arrive after seeing someone flag us down over on the next street. We radio to the ambulance to take the second entrance (if you can call it that, do gravel roads constitute
an entrance?) We get out and they fly past and miss the turn. They are having to haul ass back, people mark your freaking roads!!! So they unload gear and I am just standing there, they tell me to come on and we go into the trailer and on the couch is a man, that has suffered a heart attack and is not breathing and is well, yes dead. They start CPR and shock him twice, nothing, they are working quickly while totally calm and doing what they need to do to try and save this life. It is like a dance of sorts, they all work so damn well together. I was in awe of the teamwork and the pure artistry of it. I am handling things pretty well, in the moment standing not more than 10 feet away watching this. I hear the family member that called in to 911 start to get upset and say "if I just knew CPR." and it hits me, CPR is just like a smoke detector in your home, think I am joking, ask this persons family member.
They get the patient into the ambulance and one of our team members goes with the ambulance to assist on board with the patient. We wait to leave the scene until they get the patient IV'ed
and ready to transport. By the time we get to the hospital they have given him an IV in his juggler and started him on some other meds
. We park and go inside the ER. I am at the front desk in the ER and there are patients everywhere and I am just hanging out. Talking to one of the guys on the team I am with. He asks me if I have been to this hospital before, it is new in our area, I told him yes about my daughters accident 6 months ago and that I am very pleased with it. SO we are hanging out and I hear a nurse say "oh do we have a heartbeat?" I look over at the guy I am talking to and I ask "are they in there with him?" and he says oh yeah come on in.
So we go INTO THE ROOM where they are working on this person. I stand in there for about 15-20 min I really don't know and I watch them go into his femoral
artery with a needle and then put in an IV from that artery. I watch them cut the clothes off of this person, I watch him bleed I watch them work on saving his life, not more than 3 feet in front of me. I thought that the paramedics do a dance, this is just amazing how this group of people work so calm and in an orderly fashion. It was amazing. Last report, they were careflighing
this person to another hospital and one of the people I worked with last night told me that in all reality
survival is not really working in favor of the patient because of the amount of time he was not breathing and did not have a heartbeat. Sad, freaky, and unreal. I loved it.
We did have a second call on our way back from the hospital, it was not quite as exciting but all an adventure. Difficulty in breathing, patient asks for them to give a breathing treatment and wants to know if they can leave medication for them to use later that night if they have problems breathing again. Mind you calling 911 does not mean you get medical attention at your beck and call and then have them go on their way. After I think 5 times asking they finally get the patient to agree to go to the hospital. Thank goodness because the breathing got worse from what I was told later. I do this again in a few weeks.