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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Morongo Valley Fire Department

Last Sunday I received a phone call from one of my former coworkers. He just got hired as the paramedic coordinator for the Morongo Valley Fire Department. He was calling to let me know that they were desperate for a paramedic and wanted to know if I was interested. I went in today and interviewed for the job. This evening I got the call from the chief letting me know that I was hired and that I needed to get a few things done before I could start (such as a physical, get my turnouts, get my local paramedic accreditation). I can start as soon as I get all my stuff together. It's not the greatest paying department in Southern California but it is a full time firefighter position. I will work every Thursday, Friday and Saturday (72 hours) then have the rest of the week off. It's a small department with one frontline engine (Engine 461) and one reserve engine. I will be the only paramedic for at least 30 miles in any direction! It should be fun. Here is a link to their web site:

Johnny and Roy

I don't think that I have ever felt more like Johnny Gage from the show Emergency than I did yesterday. The call initially got toned out as a citizen assist. We soon found out that we were responding to a house with a horse loose in the yard. When we got there we were able to use engine 71 and Engine 76, with some careful maneuvering, to block the only exit from the yard. We then started the process of trying to bridle a horse that liked roaming free. After it became apparent that the other firefighters were reluctant to approach the horse I volunteered. I was quickly able to get the horses trust and was soon standing beside it petting it (while listening to some of the firefighters calling me the Horse Whisperer). At this point one of our over zealous boots (a term used for firefighters on probation) walked up to the horse and tried to slip on the bridle. The horse did not like being approached in this manner and ran away. After several similar attempts (which probably looked a little like a SNL skit) we located the owner and he came and retrieved his horse. He was able to do so with minimal effort. I think the owner cheated. He had food. That's a lesson learned. When trying to capture a loose horse, grab a carrot or two for bribery.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Case if Mistaken Identity

Yesterday was a slow day. We got our only call at 4:45pm. We went to Little Company of Mary ER to pick up a little kid and take him to Miller's Children's Hospital in Long Beach. When we got to the ER we asked to see the nurse. When she saw us she told us that it was a paramedic transport and not an EMT transport. We are used to being called EMTs by people that don't know the difference. We told her that we were the paramedics and she didn't believe us. We told her about the certifications that we have and she still did not believe us. We then showed her our patches which say paramedic on them and she said that she had never bother to notice our patches. At this point my partner said that he understood completely and that he doesn't look at the name badges of the nurses. He then called our RN a CNA (Certified Nurses Assistant aka butt wiper). The equivalent would be to call a paramedic a boy scout (although that doesn't sound quite as insulting). The nurse was almost offended but she saw that we were both smiling and just giving her a hard time. I bet the she won't forget that we are paramedics.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dead Man Walking

The call came out for a man with heart problems at the cardiologists office. Understatement of the year. The man was walking on the treadmill undergoing a cardiac stress test when he went into V-Tach (ventricular tachycardia) without pulses. In laymen terms, he died. The cardiologist immediately called 911 and then diffibrillated the patient. By the time that we got there the patient was sitting up on the exam table and stated to us that he was feeling fine. He said that he did not need to go to the hospital. At this point he was still hooked up to the cardiac monitor and we could see that he was still having frequent multifocal PVC's (where the heart beats too early) and he was also having short runs of V-Tach. Needless to say e made everyone in the room a little nervous. It took 3 doctors to convince him that he should go to the ER. At this point he informed us that he would walk to the ambulance. Yeah! That didn't happen. He has to be one of the luckiest guys in Torrance!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An Interupted Meal

We decided to go to El Pollo Loco for dinner. Engine 71 had gotten their food already and were headed back to the station to get it. Just as I was getting my food the tones went off. We got a call to East Rd and Hacienda Bl for a single vehicle rollover with multiple occupants.

Engine 71 arrived on scene first and notified us that there were multiple occupants that had all self extricated and that there was only one injury. We got there and found that our only patient was a 14 year old male that was having lower back pain. We did a quick assessment and placed him on a backboard. As soon as AMR showed up we loaded him up and sent him to the local hospital.

At this point we were able to turn our attention to the other problem on scene. The car had flipped over and slid into the fence on the side of the road shearing off the natural gas meter that led to the nearest house. The entire car was full off natural gas and it was filling the air around us rapidly. We set up a couple of hose lines and the paramedics were set up as a RIC team (Rapid Intervention Crews are stationed a little back from the incident so that they can rescue the any firefighters that run into problems). We ended up waiting for a couple of hours for the Gas Company to get the right vehicle and personnel there to shut off the gas. Once that was accomplished and the vehicle moved we were able to clear the call.

This was a call that could have been a lot worse in several ways but ended up being pretty mellow.

American Heart Association is Correct

According to the AHA the best way for a person to survive a cardiac arrest (that's when your heart stops) is CPR and early defibrillation (that's when paramedics or doctors shock you).

We got a call for a man with chest pain. When we got there he found a 61 year old man with crushing chest pain that woke him up this morning. While we were talking to him to he rolled his eyes into the back of his head ans suddenly went unconscious. All the paramedics in the room quickly looked at the monitor and saw that he was in V-fibrillation (ventricular fibrillation is a lethal condition in which your heart just quivers instead of beating). We quickly checked a pulse and verified that our patient had indeed just died. We then put the patches on and defibrillated him. At this point our patient woke up and asked us if we knew what had just happened. We checked the heart monitor and he was once again in a normal rhythm. We had no further complication with him and the hospital rushed him right into the CathLab to break up the clot that was causing him to have the massive heart attack.

It's rare, but nice, to see our patients recover that quickly from death.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

More City Hall Photos

Our new city sign.

A Mellow New Years Eve

We got our first call of the day at 10am. It was a mutual aid call into LA County's area. It was a call for a 101 year old woman that was having some trouble catching her breath. We thought that she should be happy just to be breathing in any form. We pulled up on scene right behind an LAcoFD squad that had cleared a call nearby so we go canceled.

Our second call came in just about half way through our early lunch at Marie Calenders. It was for a fire alarm activation in a home. We pulled up to the two story house with nothing showing (firefighter vernacular meaning there was nothing indicating a fire such as smoke). We met the resident at the front door and she told us that the alarm started when she was in the laundry room. We cut the power to the alarm and checked the house. No fire. We reset everything and told her to call us back if she had any more problems.

Our last call of the day was just before midnight. A citizen called in stating that she was concerned with the size of the bonfire her neighbors had going. Our Captain decided to drive up there incognito so the people with the fire wouldn't know that we were coming. It turned out to be a fire in a fire pit that was completely covered in steel mesh so as to prevent embers from flying away. It was totally safe. This call did make it so that I got to spend the passing into the new year in the squad with my partner. We all slept the rest of the night.
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