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What I wish people knew about EMS, Firefighters, Dispatchers, & Law
I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning bedroom
for trapped children at 3 AM, flames rolling above your head, your
palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your
weight as the kitchen below you burns.
I wish you could comprehend a husband's horror at 6 in the morning as
I check his wife of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR
anyway, hoping to bring her back, knowing intuitively it is too late.
But wanting her husband and family to know everything possible was
done to try to save her life.
I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of
soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout
gear, the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see
absolutely nothing in dense smoke-sensations that I've become too
I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire 'Is
this a false alarm or a working fire? How is the building constructed?
What hazards await me? Is anyone trapped?' Or to call, 'What is wrong with
the patient? Is it minor or life-threat ening? Is the caller really in
distress or is he waiting for us with a 2x4 or a gun?'
I wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead
the beautiful five-year old girl that I have been trying to save
during the past 25 minutes, who will never go on her first date or say the
words, 'I love you Mommy' again.
I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine
or unit the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my
arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to
yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us
however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, 'It took you
forever to get here!'
I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of
teenage years from the remains of her automobile. 'What if this was my
daughter, sister, my girlfriend or a friend? What are her parents'
reaction going to be when they open the door to find a police officer with hat
I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet
my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly
did not come back from the last call.
I wish you could know how it feels dispatching officers, firefighters
and EMT's out and when we call for them and our heart drops because no
one answers back or to here a bone chilling 911 call of a child or wife
I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally, and sometimes
physically, abuse us or belittle what I do, or as they express their
attitudes of 'It will never happen to me.'
I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain or
missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to
all the tragedy my eyes have seen.
I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of
helping save a life or preserving someone's property, or being able to
be there in time of crisis, or creating order from total chaos.
I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy
tugging at your arm and asking, 'Is Mommy okay?' Not even being able
to look in his eyes without tears from your own and not knowing what to say.
Or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having CPR done on him as you take him away in the Medic Unit. You know all along he did not have his seat belt on. A sensation that I have become too familiar with.
Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never truly
understand or appreciate who I am, we are, or what our job really
means to us...I wish you could though.
KEEP SENDING THIS ON. APPRECIATE AND SUPPORT THE LOCAL EMS WORKERS, 911 DISPATCHERS, FIREFIGHTERS, and LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS IN YOUR AREA.
ONE DAY THEY'LL PROBABLY BE SAVING YOUR PROPERTY OR YOUR OWN LIFE. WHEN YOU SEE THEM COMING WITH LIGHTS FLASHING, MOVE OUT OF THE WAY QUICKLY, TO THE RIGHT, THEN PRAY FOR THEM