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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Flash Flood

A couple of weeks ago we had a real nasty thunder storm come through. The only thing that happened though was a flash flood up one of the canyons. There is a private road with several homes up there and the road was washed out in four places (including a bridge). We went up the next morning to see what, if anything we could do and discovered that it was a challenging walk and that there was no way the engine was getting past. We told the residents that they should evacuate their homes until the road was repaired because if they had a medical emergency or a fire help would be very delayed in getting to them. We would have to wait for a chopper to take us in.

View of the engine parked where the road is clear.

Someone almost got stuck (not us).

The poor speckled rattlesnake had a rough night. He was washed down stream and was now trying to get out of the mud and warm. We let him finish the trip on his own.

Eric and Ashly.

This citizen lived up the canyon. The mud was bad enough that her quad couldn't get her across.

Me and Ashly in the middle of the washed out road.

Ashly sporting his wheel chock.

This was down stream at Highway 62. You can see the canyon in the background where the other photos were taken.

This is the bridge at Highway 62. We called Cal Trans about the bridge support eroding away.

Me on a walk to check out the other side of the bridge.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Wheel Chock

Unfortunately for Ashly, the last call (the TC in the last post) did not go so great. Among the things that he forgot was the wheel chock to the brush engine (after I told him not to forget it). When Eric found out about this he decided that to ensure that Ashly would never forget another wheel chock junior would have to wear a wheel chock (the one he forgot) for the entire next day, even on calls. Whenever someone asked him what he was doing with it he was to tell them that he is trying to remember not to leave things on the scene of a call.

Ashly sporting his new wheel chock.

Ashly cooking potatoes while wearing his wheel chock.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


On Thursday we sent Junior to the store in the brush engine. While he was gone we got toned out for a TC (traffic collision). It was reported as a rollover with occupants trapped and a vehicle fire. It almost sounds like something out of a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. We had responding with us, San Bernardino County Fire medic engine 121, San Bernardino County Fire medic ambulance 121, CalFire engine 3586, MBA, CHP, San Bernardino County Fire battalion chief, a San Bernardino County Fire division chief and Junior in the brush engine. That's a lot of man power for a single car wreck. In reality the response was so large because it was reportedly a fire. That means a brush fire is likely so we get a lot of resources up front.

First on scene were some civilians that put the fire out using 4 fire extinguishers. Next to show up was an ambulance from Los Angeles that happened passing by. The EMT jumped out and went to do what he could. After that Junior showed up in the brush engine followed by medic engine 121 a minute later. Just as 121 was pulling up we arrived. At this point Ashley came running up to the engine screaming, "It's a CUTTER!" Meaning that the person is trapped and we need to cut them out. I went down into the ditch to check on the patient and to assess how bad the vehicle was. the vehicle had been traveling over 100 mph when the driver lost control and rolled the SUV into the ditch. He was not wearing a seat belt but his airbags (all of which deployed) saved his life. I found him laying on the ceiling of his SUV (which was upside down) bleeding from a head wound. I ushered the EMT out of the way so I could assess the patient. He was awake but confused and in a lot of pain. I checked the driver's side rear door to see if it would open and it did. So did the rear door on the other side. So much for Juniors cutter.

We placed the patient on a backboard and slid him out the passenger side. The chopper had a 17 minute ETA so we just loaded him up into the ambulance and sent him on his way.

San Bernardino County Fire looking on.

Here you can see the open back that I crawled into.

The side of medic engine 461 and a view of the traffic that was caused by the wreck. You can also see medic engine 121 and medic ambulance 121 off to the right.

This is the roof of the SUV which has some blood on it. The yellow things are the side impact airbags.

CHP making sure that everything is alright (after we did everything).

Here is where the fire was. Notice the dry chemical from the fire extinguishers all over the vehicle.

Medic engine 461 and brush engine 461.

Our Reserve Engineer talking on the phone telling someone how cool the call was.

Our Reserve Engineer and me on the nozzle. We pulled the line just in case things go boom while the tow truck driver flips the car onto its wheels.

Reserve Engineer and Ashley prying open the hood and cutting the battery cables.

The driver decided to use his head to remove the rear view mirror.

Monday, July 28, 2008

One of Those Days

The call came in at about nine in the evening for a person with high blood pressure and a headache. As we pulled up to the house we were met by a very overweight man without a shirt. I assumed he was my patient so as I got off the engine I asked him what was going on. He told me that it wasn't him but that it was his stepdaughter. She was standing by the car in the driveway waiting for us. She was 20 years old and in decent shape so my initial response was to think that there is no way she has high blood pressure. Sure enough, her blood pressure was through the roof. She also told us that in addition to her headache, that she was experiencing chest pain and trouble breathing. She said that the chest pain was what was bothering her the most. So Erin and I started treating her with some nitroglycerin, aspirin, and oxygen. I then tried to start an IV. she is 20! She has great veins! And I'm got great IV skills (I humbly proclaim). Wouldn't you know it, I blew the first IV attempt. I tried again in the other arm. I haven't tried to start an IV on someone with veins this good in a long time, but do I get the IV on the second attempt? Nope! At this point I realize that I am having one of those days. It's kind of like when an MBA player is just a little bit off on all his shots. None of my shots were going in. I swallowed my pride and decided to wait for the MBA paramedic. When she got o scene I gave her my report and let her know that she needed to start the IV. She gave me a look which said, "One of those days?" Everybody has them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Calling Out Sick

I almost feel like I owe someone an apology for not posting. As most of you know this last week the paramedic that works the opposite schedule from me got sick. This meant that I had to work six days straight at the fire station. The worst part was that I had made it half way home before he called me to say he was sick. It made for a long week. I still had to work at my part time job and had to travel down to San Diego for a written exam (I was actually supposed to do that two separate days but I was too wasted to do another test on Saturday). So the reason I haven't been posting the last couple of days is just that I've been tired. More to come soon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Possible OD

The call woke us up at 4 in the morning. I use this term (morning) loosely since there is no daylight anywhere to be seen at that hour. WE got toned out for a possible OD. We were informed that SO was on their way and that it was already safe for us to enter the house.

We arrived on scene to be greeted by the mother of the patient. Our patient was a 33 year old man that has a history of psychiatric problems including a suicide attempt 2 weeks prior. His mother informed us that she had last seen him 2 hours previous sitting in the his recliner. He's still sitting in a recliner,was almost completely unresponsive (he did withdraw from pain) and had snoring respirations. We got him on some oxygen and checked out his vitals. His pupils were constricted (which can indicate the use of narcotics) but all other vitals checked out. His blood sugar was 97. I quickly started a line (IV) and gave him 2 milligrams of Narcan. We waited for a little bit and the I started giving him a little more. With just a 1/2 milligram more he started coming around a little bit. By this time MBA had shown up so we loaded him up. As the gurney was pushed into the ambulance he opened his eyes and started looking around. A good sign. His poor mother. I responded for her husband, who had chest pain, on Mother's day. Turns out he did have another heart attack and got royally chewed out by his doctor for not letting us take him to the hospital.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Acoma Fire Videos

These videos give a glimpse of what it's like responding to a brush fire.

Size up of the fire given by the captain of San Bernardino County Fire Medic Engine 121.

Medic Engine 461 (us) getting orders from dispatch and rolling code.

What we saw coming into Yucca Valley.

Us rolling code with the rest of the strike team.

This video is of the location we were assigned to defend.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random Photos

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Why I Hate Swamp Coolers

Early Saturday morning or late Friday night, depends on how you look at it, I woke up because I was getting soaked. Our CSD (community service district) decided that it would be more cost effective to fix our aging swamp coolers than to put in a new air conditioning system. Well the swamp coolers stayed "fixed" for almost two entire days. On Friday one of the swamp coolers started leaking water. By Friday night the water had leached through the roof and started leaking, right onto my bed. I woke up soaked, changed my clothes, and crawled into another bed without any sheets or blankets. I woke up shivering.

Here you can see the two points of drippage.

Here is the temporary solution. I went up on the roof later and fixed both swamp coolers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Why It's Bad To Be The Rookie

Just after dinner on the 4th of July Kyra discovered that one of Eric's dogs had pooped. It only took about 2 seconds for Eric to realize that he had a probationary firefighter that would clean it up for him. It took me about 1 second after that to grab the camera. The shot is a little blurry but I captured Eric pointing out pieces for junior to pick up.

Mission accomplished!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fourth of July Family Day

For the Fourth of July this year we had our families come up and spend it with us at the fire station. My parents came up with Katie and the kids and Eric had his wife and dogs come up. It was a low key visit. I showed my parents around the station and the engine. We had BBQ hamburgers for dinner. At the end of the evening we let my mom and dad flow some water (use the fire hose). We pulled the engine out onto the apron and had junior do a two minute drill. This is where he has two minutes to get completely dressed and ready to go into a burning building. This time it took a little longer than two minutes. He then pulled the preconnect and started flowing water. I then had my mom and dad take turns. I think they had a lot of fun. The only thing that I really missed was a fireworks show and it wouldn't look right if we had our own.

The cooks at the station on the 4th of July

Eric brought up his dogs. Here he and Junior are playing catch with the dog in our new storage container.

The chef (wearing an appropriate apron) and his granddaughter.

Getting ready for dinner.

The main event!

Eric said that it is a rare thing to see his wife (Krista) actually cooking so I snapped a photo.

By the look on Eric's face I just said something along the lines of, "you fat!"

No comment.

Flowing water with my dad.

Here my mom is trying it out under the close supervision of Kyra.

Clean up after play time.

Eric and I are rebedding the 1 3/4 inch hose.

The dream of being a firefighter (like his dad) is born.

Night operations.

Me and the kids on the 4th of July. That American Flag is on the back of Medic Engine 461.
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