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Old 01-26-2010, 01:35 PM
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Well when you start the training, you might find some things that you might not enjoy too much. Some people don't like the dark, tight spaces, the feeling of breathing dry air from a tank with a mask smothering your face, working on ladders and so on. But whatever you are faced with, just take it one step at a time and you'll be ok. I didn't like heights at first but I got used to it.

Patience. Dealing with people is not easy. For the most part, people who call EMS/FIRE are in trouble. But there are those few people that feel they are entitled to your help and should be treated how they think aka butt kissing. There are people that call because they have a pipe leaking under the sink, because they don't know how to change a battery on a smoke detector, because they just want to get into the emergency room quicker instead of driving themselves, because there is a cat stuck in a tree. Um if the cat went up there, it will come down when it's hungry. It's a cat! The people who do heroin and stick themselves with needles but are scared when you go to start an IV on them?!?! It just goes on. What happened to calling a plumber? What happened to reading instructions on your smoke detector? It's not that hard. Mean while someone with a real emergency has to wait.

Don't get me wrong, if there's an animal stuck in a drain pipe, manhole, inside of an engine bay... I will gladly help. They can't get out of there. But a cat in a tree, come on.

The elderly. You might come across some sad situations with the elderly. You might see older folks that live by themselves who take so many medications that they could have their own pharmacy. They are either ignored by their family or just don't have any family left or close by. They get me every time. These are the people who deserve the most patience and caring treatment in my opinion.

Stay fit. The fire service/EMS takes a toll on your body. One second you could be sitting around or sleeping and the next thing you're responding to a fire or a chest pain call. You go from 0 mph to 100 mph. We do 24 hour shifts. It messes up your sleep cycle. You have to lift heavy people and heavy tools. We have several patients near my station who are in excess of 500 pounds. Even with extra manpower it's very easy to hurt your back.

On the scene. Any time you work on the road, you gotta watch out for other drivers. They are texting, eating, talking, gawking, and that's why police and firefighters get run over. Never turn your back on oncoming traffic. That's why it's important to block traffic using the fire truck, police, or rescue truck. Flares are nice but they won't stop a car.

Don't worry so much about your age. There were guys in my fire recruit class that were 38 years old and others who were in their early 20's. Just do your best and learn as much as you can. Every opportunity to learn something new or take a class, try to jump on it. You never know what it might lead to.

What would I have done differently? I wish I would have been in better shape before I started the training. I've never been into sports so I've never been a runner. And running was a big part of our training in the academy so I was miserable. Other than that I'm happy that I did all the medical training before I got hired because it helped me get hired over other people who had no training.
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