Hello. Thank you for visiting my blog.
First, a little about myself. I am, as you probably guessed, a firefighter and a paramedic. I started out in EMS as an EMT in 2002. I worked for a private ambulance company in southern California for a couple of years. Our call volume there was diverse. We did some 911 calls, a lot of inter-facility transports, dialysis calls (which I loath to this day) and special events.
The unit on which I worked was assigned to a medical center near Downtown L.A. It was the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) transport unit. We would pick up an incubator and a team of MDs, RNs and RTs and take them to one of the smaller hospitals in the area and pick up really sick kids. I learned a lot about treating babies there. We also transported really sick kids to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) and women in labor that were having complications.
I left that ambulance company to go to another that payed more and had a better schedule. Unfortunately that one went belly up soon after I started. Turned out that the IRS really wanted to talk to the owner about his financial dealings. He fled the country.
This was the catalyst I needed to get me to go to paramedic school. I decided to go to what was the toughest program in the area (and quite possibly the state). We started out with 27 of us and 9 graduated. There was some serious stress there.
After paramedic school I went back to work in the private sector for another company. We did 911 calls and ALS inter-facility transports. The main reason I ended up there was that they were willing to pay me as a medic while I waited for my state license to come through.
Of course this entire time I had been testing with fire departments but the competition was too great at my experience level. My resume didn't stand out enough....yet.
While working there I started my first real steps into the fire service. I started working a couple shifts a month as a medic for a volunteer department. In return I got to train with them. While I was working on a fire department and I was called a firefighter I really don't consider that to be when I became a firefighter. But it was a step in the right direction.
Because of my experience there I was able to get a full time job on a small department in a rural area (go out to the middle of no where, hang a left and go 27 more miles). They were just starting up their paramedic program and didn't pay much. I was in need of a department to take a chance on me. We both got what we needed.
In my time there I made some great friends. They trained me to be a firefighter. On April 26, 2008 I had my first structure fire. Finally, in my own eyes, I had become a firefighter. My experiences at this small department were amazing. The call volume was not great but it was diverse and usually, when we were called, it was for something good.
While there, I tested for and was hired by a larger municipal department. It offered everything I needed to make a career out of this field. Mostly better pay and benefits. A year and a half after getting hired by that department I lost that job. Thankfully it was part of a consolidation process and I was immediately picked up by a larger department.
I now work for a large, and growing, regional department. We cover many different cities (from ghetto to wealthy neighborhoods). We also have a large wildland/urban interface and water ways. My department is large enough that we offer most specialties that the fire service offers such as water rescue, USAR, and HAZMAT.
I am fortunate enough to be a medic in an EMS system that is very progressive. We are encouraged to think. I know this may seem strange but there are some counties in California that want their medics to operate like robots, only following protocols. If you haven't been on both sides of that fence it would be hard to understand.
My blog was originally created by my wife as a way to share my stories and experiences as a paramedic intern with family and friends. Since then it has changed several times into what it is today. I write for several reasons. First, I write for me. I like to be able to look back on the calls that I have run. It's sort of a journal. Second, I like having a place to rant or rave about things. Third, it's still a way for my family and friends to keep up with what is going on in my life at work. Fourth, I write for those out there who are the rubber-neckers. The ones who want a glimpse into a firefighter/paramedics life. Lastly, I write because I have become a member of a select group. We, the medics of the blogosphere, love our jobs, love sharing stories and ideas and hope to make a change for the better in our field.
I hope you enjoy these stories of a Firefighter/Paramedic
Norbeck prescribed fire — three months later
2 hours ago