Friday, October 26, 2001
Carlisle Comments: Our heroes
Let's take a look at our own Carlisle firefighters and EMTs. I must admit that back in the 1960s when we first moved to town, I thought of these guys as a bunch of red necked, barely employed high school dropouts, who come for you with a shovel or some undersized fire hose, and who still lived at home. In other words, "Townies". Boy, was I ever wrong. I don't know where I got this stupid idea, possible from living in cities with full time people, fancy fire stations with poles, and great big trucks and ambulances.
Living here in Carlisle for over 37 years has brought me to my senses. I now can speak from experience, having had two sons who served our fair community as both firefighters and EMTs.
I had no idea of the training that these guys have to have. This is continual training, regularly at the local fire station, and off site at the fire fighter academy, in local hospitals and in special training classes held in the general area. Not only do the EMTs have to pass a state test, but they are required to continue to take ongoing courses as long as they remain EMTs.
These guys have other jobs. Yes, they are paid a small amount for the actual time they put in, but this is unplanned time. They are not paid for being on call, only if they are actually called. Next time you are reading the fire and medical calls in the paper, look at the time of the call.
At night, they have to get out of bed and drive to the station in order to respond to your call. In the winter, during an ice and sleet storm, this can be dangerous. After the call is over, first the equipment has to be readied for the next call before they can go back to bed. Sometimes there is more than one call in a night. The next morning, these same men have to get up at their regular time and go to work.
During the daytime hours, those in the daytime company have to leave their jobs, their meals, chores, and their kid's birthday party. Christmas dinner has been interrupted in our house more than once.
Yes, these are young men for the most part, and sometimes they are a little frisky with their sirens and their impatience to get to the station. They may not wear or own business suits, and their shirt tails may hang out, but when they come to your home, you are treated like a family member, and not like a piece of meat, or some dummy who forgot to turn off the stove. I realize that many people write letters of appreciation when they are on the receiving end of this group's service, and the men appreciate this in return. Read these letters, someday this may be you.
These are trained, polite, caring people who are doing this because they want to serve the community. Some of our men serve on an area stress team. We even had a couple of them go to NYC to help out there. Think of how much more expensive it will be if we have to go to full time, 24-hour unionized fire and ambulance coverage. Be thankful for them and appreciate them. I still love every one of them, even if my two sons are no longer part of the team.
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito