Firefighters and Public Safety

Topher Walters

Adventurer
I started in 1989 as a county firefighter and summer time seasonal firefighter for CDF. I am now a captian with Cal Fire and still really enjoy my job. I miss working at a station but my current position allows for more flexability with my schedule, being at home every night and responding from anywhere I happen to be gives me my adrenline fix. I am always impressed with the great firefighting/emergency services family.
 
Kellymoe,

We may have chewed the same asphalt; I graduated Daniel Freeman in ’89 and worked El Monte for a bit.

After so many years living and working all over the US and overseas as a paramedic and firefighter, both on the ground and in the air, I finally found a place to call home. About four years back I got called for this position and have no desire to leave Alaska, for work that is.

We work a 2 flight paramedic, single pilot team. Our “response” area is roughly the size of the state of Washington and we are the paramedics for 58 native villages. As far as scope of practice goes, I am not sure of anywhere close to what we do, which include Art. Lines, Central Lines, Chest tubes, Thrombolytics, etc. etc. and act pretty much independently. There are six paramedics assigned here and we work a 5 on 10 off schedule. Now before you all get excited and think how sweet it is, that’s 5 days around the clock. Bethel, our base, is 400 miles west of Anchorage and we “commute” via Alaska Airlines. Primary our aircraft is a dedicated Cessna Caravan however we also fly a BlackHawk from the Guard when weather goes down or if the fly a SAR mission, they don’t have medics at this unit. For those that are interested, we are currently merging with another service here in Alaska and will have openings at our Anchorage base. There they fly medic/nurse and do long range interfacility fixed and rotor-wing along with rotor scene flights. You need minimum of 3 years 911 a medic with preferred 5 years and flight time. PM me if anyone I interested.

As for my FF/PM time, we live in a community serviced by a volunteer department. Chugiak has 5 stations and members are required to cover 1 week out of 4 from 1830 to 0630 on weekdays and round the clock on weekends and holidays. They cut me some slack due to my work schedule. Days are covered by auxiliaries; members that don’t live in the community.
 

bigredpigdriver

Adventurer
I guess I will be the first Officer to speak up...use to be in Law Enforcement for about 12 years:pROFSheriffHL: , had to stop when the doctors said they could not replace what I lost when someone wanted to give me a tummy tuck with a bullet.:REOutShootinghunter
 

Clark White

Explorer
Six years as an EMT, 1.5yrs VFD, 1.5yrs PD reserve, 3yrs US Coast Guard. They all over lap, so I have been in the business for 6 or 7 years.

Clark
 

Fireman78

Expedition Leader
Started firefighting fulltime in 1992 after getting out of the Army.. Took a small hiatus to become New Mexico State Policeman in 2000, came back to fire after less then two years. I liked the work as a cop, but the schedual sucked. Oh and court sucks too. I just really missed the shift trades, getting used to taking two /three/four weeks off several times a year. Also a Paramedic, NWCG Wildland ENGB, blah blah, not going to list everything. Getting fairly close to retirement, I can see the light! I can't wait. Fire has been a great job to have to raise a family.

Sidenote- It's sad how working in a really busy station in a poor depressed part of a big city can bring your moral down, I miss those old days when I got excited about work. Maybe after I retire and leave this place, I can go work as an SAR/SWRT tech or something in a small community, where people actually appriciate you and don't abuse the EMS system. I recently moved to dispatch for a spell just to get off the streets for awhile. Mental state wasn't doing so hot after seeing the %$$# I've seen year after year, kinda gets to ya. I started to look like Nicholas Cage in "Bringing out the dead".. sorry guys, I'll go get some coffee now.... :coffeedrink:
 

silentsamurai

Explorer
Sorry to hear that josh.

That can be brutal. Hopefully you have or will find something else that you love to do and stick with it. Cant let it get you down. Brush off the dust and start over.

Good luck mate.

Adam
 

kai38

Explorer
26 yrs in the FD, not bad for a job I started & I didn't want and was going to quit everyday after class, still planning on quitting (I think its called retiring by now though)
Best job in the world.
You are right w/ 20 days off a month on a 24 hr shift I spend more time with my kids then when I was assigned to the training Academy doing an 8 hr day.
I took my daughters to the 1st day of school every year K though 12 & off to their 1st day of college this year.
It really is a great job.
 

BriansFJ

Adventurer
I volunteer as an EMT-B/IV for El Paso County SAR, a high-angle rescue and mountain search and rescue team based in Colorado Springs, CO. Been on the team 4 years and an EMT for 2, with about that much time as an EMT on another team prior to my military stint. In real life, I'm a police officer for a small department in the Colorado Springs area.:pROFSheriffHL:
 

kellymoe

Expedition Leader
AlaskanFlightMedic said:
Kellymoe,

We may have chewed the same asphalt; I graduated Daniel Freeman in ’89 and worked El Monte for a bit.

After so many years living and working all over the US and overseas as a paramedic and firefighter, both on the ground and in the air, I finally found a place to call home. About four years back I got called for this position and have no desire to leave Alaska, for work that is.

We work a 2 flight paramedic, single pilot team. Our “response” area is roughly the size of the state of Washington and we are the paramedics for 58 native villages. As far as scope of practice goes, I am not sure of anywhere close to what we do, which include Art. Lines, Central Lines, Chest tubes, Thrombolytics, etc. etc. and act pretty much independently. There are six paramedics assigned here and we work a 5 on 10 off schedule. Now before you all get excited and think how sweet it is, that’s 5 days around the clock. Bethel, our base, is 400 miles west of Anchorage and we “commute” via Alaska Airlines. Primary our aircraft is a dedicated Cessna Caravan however we also fly a BlackHawk from the Guard when weather goes down or if the fly a SAR mission, they don’t have medics at this unit. For those that are interested, we are currently merging with another service here in Alaska and will have openings at our Anchorage base. There they fly medic/nurse and do long range interfacility fixed and rotor-wing along with rotor scene flights. You need minimum of 3 years 911 a medic with preferred 5 years and flight time. PM me if anyone I interested.

As for my FF/PM time, we live in a community serviced by a volunteer department. Chugiak has 5 stations and members are required to cover 1 week out of 4 from 1830 to 0630 on weekdays and round the clock on weekends and holidays. They cut me some slack due to my work schedule. Days are covered by auxiliaries; members that don’t live in the community.
Maybe, I graduated DFPM School in March of 87. Got hired by LAFD in 88.
Worked a very short time in between as a medic in Ojai CA.

My brother is the fire chief for Central Emergency Services in Soldatna AK. They lost a ff/pm earlier this year who worked as a flight medic. I think the chopper went down in the sea and they never recovered the members of the crew. The details are foggy but I am sure you know about it. I have a ton of respect for flight medics.

I lost 3 good friends on this job in 98 to a helo crash in Griffith Park in LA. It was a tragic time for me. There were two air ambulances that went up, my dad was part of the flight crew of one of them. When I got home in the morning I had no idea what was going down until I turned the news on as I usualy do. As soon as I realised that the ship that crashed was LAFD my heart stopped. I knew my dad was working that day and a good chance he would be flying. I started seeing them pull bodies out of the wreckage and I had to stop watching. I called the Air Ops and wasfortunate to get through and find out it wasnt his ship. Shook my dad up pretty bad. He retired a year later.

Thanks for your hard work.
 

jh504

Explorer
Winky said:
EMT-B FFII

Workerd part time from 2004 till 04-08 until an injury ended my career... before it really got started. It's good satisfying work... I miss it.
I hate to hear that. I hope you find something just as rewarding.
I had to stop a career in EMS due to a broken back this year. The doctors told me the daily stretcher lifting would cause me to end up having surgery. I am not stopping fire though. I am going back to school and my eventual goal is to work as a firefighter/chaplain. There are a lot of people in our profession who need a good ear to listen to them.
 

Winky

Adventurer
I hope it didn't read like I was whining. It is annoying to think of all the time and energy I put into training... but then I think I am just prepared if disaster strikes. I've thought about trying to stay in the field as an Inspector. I spent those same four years working in the fire protection industry full time. It seems like those jobs tend to go to people within a department.

Growing up I wanted to be everything so this is just an opportunity to try something else. Maybe teaching... maybe surveying. Right now I am just going to school hauling around newspapers trying to figure out my next move.
Thanks for the kind words guys.
 

Mc Taco

American Adventurist
I'm an EMT and work on the education end of the field now. I really love knowing that my students are going to go out and help people. I feel like a force multiplier. They will impact more people's lives as a group then I ever could have alone.

Josh, look into helping out with a program. And since you're in the Mid-West, you won't be taking any work from me.:wavey:
 
The only certainty in this profession is that the longer you stay in it, the more friends you will loose. When the Providence Rotor went down in December we all took a hit. The very next mission; after we heard they lost the rotor, was a BlackHawk flight to a remote village at night in marginal weather (below our fixed-wing minimums). We took a moment to remember our friends and to check ourselves. We all agree that our first priority is to go home at the end of our shift. That we may take risks but they must be managed risks and that NO patient is worth 5 lives. Personally my wife doesn’t want me in a rotor, she understands when we do a BlackHawk flight but doesn’t want me any where near the rotor we will be flying in Anchorage.
 

Capt Eddie

Adventurer
One of the points made during this thread is that a civil position is a whole lot differant than being a medic in the private sector. Civil position is the way to go. In the civil end you know that the person in charge has been where you are. In the private they hire the cheapest person they can get with little or no experience to be in charge.
 
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