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Monday, September 24, 2012

I Am Optimus Prime

So we started a new tradition. My kids are picking out new sheets for me (for work) every year. So for the next year I will be sleeping with Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee.

The Autobots barely beat out Sponge Bob. Better luck next year my yellow, squishy friend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Smell Ya Later

We walked in the front door to a familiar house. One of the tenets, a 55 year old man, rented a room and frequently needed our assistance. He had had a stroke several years ago and now had significant weakness to one side. He was also rather obese. Because of these factors, and sometimes alcohol, he frequently fell and couldn't get up.

This time we walked in and found the patient laying on the floor at the foot of his bed. The room was rank. The patient didn't shower regularly and he had a cat. The cat lived in the room and, because the kitty litter box was full, had proceeded to urinate and defecate all over the room. The patient had also lost control and peed on himself. All of those smells on their own are bad but put together can cause a firefighter to gag.

We talked with the patient and smelled some alcohol. He said that he had simply missed the bed when trying to sit down and that he wasn't hurt. After a quick assessment we helped him to the bed. My engineer and my captain pulled him up by his arms while I pushed/lifted from behind.

Once the hard part was over AMR showed up. We talked with the patient for a few minutes and convinced him that it was in his best interest to go get checked out.

The next day, at various times during the day, everyone on my crew, myself included, smelled the patient from the night before. It came on suddenly and vanished just as quickly but there was no mistaking the stench. It was time to wash our turnouts.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alarm Sounding

It was one of those nights. The kind where you get hammered to make up for the last several decent nights sleep.

At 0230 the tones sounded for the third time. We padded down to the truck and headed for a manufacturing plant that had an alarm sounding. Per the alarm company it was a manual pull alarm on the second floor.

On scene my captain and I headed in to check things out while my engineer stayed with the rig. We met up with the night supervisor who gave us a very confused look. He hadn't heard any alarms at all and it was business as usual.

The supervisor led us through a maze of large rooms toward a staircase. He informed us that there was not a "second floor" per se but that there were several platforms above some of the equipment that might be considered a second floor. Reaching the metal staircase I couldn't help but notice that his idea of a second floor was 4 stories up. So climb we did.

Up top we found access to several machines. There was only one manual pull station and it hadn't been used. There was no alarm sounding and everything seemed to be running as it should be. So we headed back down the stairs and onto the next area.

We repeated that process several times. Almost an hour later we cleared from the call. Now I was completely awake and covered in sweat. Getting back to sleep wouldn't be easy.

After changing my clothes and reading for a while I was finally at a point where I thought I'd get back to sleep. I turned off my light and curled up under my blanket just in time for the tones to go off again.
The factory had another manual pull alarm sounding.

This time we checked everything and then had the supervisor call the alarm company to take the system off line. This afforded us just enough time to get a nap in before it was time to get up for the day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

There And Back Again

It was right out of the commercial. Out patient had fallen and couldn't get up so she used her call button to summon help. The operator even informed us that the woman had a key hidden in one of her flower pots. Seemed like this was going to be an easy call.

Not so much.

She lived on the second floor of her apartment building. As we made our way to the front door we started looking for the specific flower pot. Carefully looking around the fake plant we spied the key. The wrong key. It wasn't even the right type of key. Although if we wanted to take her Toyota for a joy ride we could. Fortunately for our patient firefighters aren't easily discouraged. Getting into her home was now a challenge.

The first thing we did was to check the kitchen window. We were able to do this just by leaning over the railing. It was locked. The next step was to check the balcony on the back of the apartment. Of course to do this I needed the ladder. Off the the rig I went.

On my way to the rear of the building my captain stopped me. He said that a neighbor had a key. The poor guy had to wake up at 1 in the morning, get dressed, find the key and give it to us. So back to the rig I went to put away the ladder. On my way I ran into the AMR crew that had just shown up. I pointed them in the right direction and then put the ladder away.

Meanwhile, back at the front door, my captain tried the newly found key on the door. After getting the security door open he was unable to unlock the front door. Perhaps it was a different key. So while he continued the frontal assault I decided to go get the ladder.....again.

By the time I made it to the bottom of the stairs the front door clicked open. It had just been a sticky lock.

Inside we found the 84 year old woman laying on the floor at the foot of her bed. She was alert and oriented and said that she just stumbled and fell. She denied any loss of consciousnesses but was complaining that her left hip hurt really bad. After the AMR medic cleared C-Spine we discussed how we were going to get her out.

I suggested that we use a KED device around her hips to stabilize them (her left side was dislocated or fractured) and then try to move her on a carry all (a large tarp with handles). I watched as the AMR crew started to move the old lady. She immediately winced in pain.

The AMR medic looked at me and said that she didn't think this was going to work and then asked for ideas. I suggested that she start an IV and give her some morphine before we move her. That way we have done everything we could to make her comfortable.

After a couple of doses of the narcotic was placed the patient in the KED and moved her downstairs to the gurney. Needless to say after all that I had a tough time falling back to sleep.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Don't Be Afraid

I was recently contacted by Joe Galizio. He has been writing a children's book which he hopes will "raise awareness that Firefighters, EMT's and Paramedics are there to help in stressful situations." That way, when they need us, they would be less likely to run and hide.

Joe is looking for some financial contributions to help get his project off the ground. If you would like to help, visit his site here.
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