From time to time Transport EMS will generate an interesting or entertaining call, but nothing beats the 911 experience for bulk delivery of great stories (suitably modified to protect patient confidentiality, of course.) For this reason if no other DTs has been lazily swatting at 911 gigs as they came by.

The first two tries, actually, were with the same system, but each got no further than the “Meet with the Panel” stage. Details are in here somewhere, I won’t bother with them again.

So I thought, “What the hell. Let’s give a different system a try.” Something I’d been avoiding because DTs has no repeat no interest whatsoever in becoming a firefighter.

Most of the systems in Northern VA/DC/MD still use the archaic Combined Fire/EMS approach. I’m given to understand that much of the country is the same way.

Basically, one is trained as a Firefighter, and an EMT-B. Some systems require an employee to then get at least an EMT-I within two years; others let one stay a FF1/EMTB and only require the “I” or “P” certification if one wants to be a medic.

If, on the other hand, one wishes to be a medic, this is the routine in those systems:

One is trained as a Firefighter, and an EMT-B, then goes on to earn the “I” or “P” certification.

Yah. Really.

“Why,” I can hear your plaintive cry, “Do they make a medic be a firefighter? It makes no sense! For,” you continue, “If there is a fire, there are many a fresh-faced boy slavering to dive in with mighty hose and subdue same; yet, if there is an injury, surely someone not fighting the fire is required to treat and deliver to hospital.”

I agree, I agree. And it is not a double-standard, methinks, to require firefighters to have basic EMT skills:

“Hey, sir, nasty car accident! You okay buddy?”


“Here, lemme help you outta there… door stuck… gotta pull you out through the window… I’ll just pick you up by the head and slide you through. Maybe a little twist here…”

Still, as She Who Must Be Obeyed said, “It’s just another class; go through it and be done with it.”

For lo! Whilst doing lead-seat time with A County, DTs was pulled aside by the Rescue Chief who said unto him, “Come work for us!”. On another occasion, a Captain: “Join us!”. Yet again, another High Level Gentleman: “Why not work here?”

Fine fellows all! Actually, some of the best I ever met. And yet, the fireguy angle. As one of them put it, “Just get through fire training, and get your FF1, and I promise you can be on the medic the first day out of recruit school. You’ll never have to ride the engine in your life if you don’t want to – but you will have the option, with FF1, if you ever need or want a break.”

Hmmm. And yet….

I would not, could not, with a hose,

I don’t like wearing Turnout clothes,

I would not, could not, with an axe,

Or wearing heavy High-Rise packs

The victims don’t say “Feeling good!”

Surrounded by that burning wood

Fire guys: Bring them to me!

I’ll give O2! I’ll start IV!

I’ll take them to the doctor, true,

Then come right back and cover you

Tonight, when there’s a “Pain in chest”

I’ll run the call, and let you rest.

But then I thought, “What the hell.”

Again, it’s a process – first the written (passed) after which, a physical test known as the CPAT. More extensive and more demanding than the EPAT taken on the previous tries, DTs really had to buckle down.

From Jan 7 to current I’ve lost 20 lbs and 8% body fat while gaining muscle, working out at least six days a week (in some way/shape/form) and trying to avoid over training.

The CPAT practice sessions offered by A County have been wonderful learning experiences. Some who attended seem to use the sessions as actual exercise opportunities. “I’ve only done the stair climb twice so far, I need to go again…” DTs used them in another context. Try each of the eight stations, see where the trouble was (eg “Quads still burning during the step climb”), get out and give others a chance at the stations. Make notes in the car, then use that info during the week to modify home gym exercises. Return for next CPAT practice to repeat and modify. It seems to work.

Whether DTs has over trained is debatable; there is no question, though, that he definitively avoided over-thinking.

Jut alors! “Methinks I had best be getting this documentation in order,” said DTs last night. “These background check things sometimes take a week or so and… son. of. a. bitch!”

He read:

“Background packets must be turned in to this office by 3/14/2008, no exceptions…”

CPAT practice ends 4/12, and SOMEHOW DTs got the idea that the packet was therefore due on 5/14. Would that he had paid attention!

So now, pessimistically, it shapes up thus:


Older, wiser head: Very desirable candidate.

Already a Paramedic: VERY desirable. Can go to work almost immediately.

Multilingual: No Barry Farber, but working on em. Plus mark!

Wants to be on the band aid box: Most fireguys do NOT, and must be prodded. DTs = Good

Self motivated: You betcha. Looking good on the CPATs and everything.

Mastery of Calendar skills: Not so much.

Embarrassing, stupid, inattentive PUTZ!

I guess I’ll continue the workout regimen and think on this… Would that I had thought before!


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