All Quiet at the It Aint OK Corral

Friday, January 21 2005

One of the great things about OWL is that they hand out these neat text message pagers. Every time the tones drop, the pager buzzes with the same info we get from Dispatch. On those days I run (especially on weekdays, where I don’t run until 18:00) I keep my pager on all day, with the assumption that if the early part of the day is “busy”, my shift will be, too.

Thursday tripped me up twice. Firstly, I thought it was being treated as a holiday – Fairfax County, and Alexandria, and other local jurisdictions, were treating the day as such. My Good Guys got the day off school, etc. In holiday situations, we volunteers work the full day (career guys get the day off) and show up at 08:00, same as weekends. So, on that assumption, I arrived at the station at 07:00 Thursday to get the rig checked out.

Mighty quiet by the time that was done – come to find out, Prince Willy did not get the day off. Which worked out, in a way. I went home and did some stuff, but going back in the evening we were ready to rock at 18:00 on the dot.

Second trip-up was this pager I mentioned. It had been going off all day long – furnaces exploding here, inside gas leaks three doors down from that, accidents. “Fear, Fire, Foes – Awake!”. The weather turns cold, folks wait as long as possible until they turn on their furnaces, and… there be trouble. I hate that, but if it has to happen, then…

Ah! Distress afoot, and I get to help. Yeah, baby.

Trouble went home with the paid guys. I show up, my driver gets there, we’re ready. Tilt hands to ear and listen for the tones to drop: [insert cricket chirping sounds].

The “one” in 911 is the “one” call we got all night, and that one wasn’t until 04:00. Medical. Routine (but of this routine, more later. A dissertation, yes, that’s what we need!) Well, we did a couple of other calls where we went, waited, and left – they don’t count.

We students were told, in the dim and distant past when I first took EMT class, that to be hired in D.C. one had only to be an EMT, “or, write EMT on a 3×5 index card and mail it to…”

Now there’s a jurisdiction which gets some action. We shall see.

via DTs EMT.


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