101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Wednesday, September 23

Two Houses

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, naught could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, Prologue

Two Houses.
EpiJunky

Capt. Schmoe


I do believe an ancient grudge is boiling to a head.
A grudge born from a time when what we do was still a mystery, a trade, an idea whose time was overdue. The fact that this new idea took root in a large municipal agency has led to many today misunderstanding why it was put there. Some have seen the big red machine have little effect on their company's ability to provide excellent service to their community over decades.

There is a battle raging in some systems between these two houses that has no winner, no finish line and no perfect solution.

We are the children of a time of confusion and reaction. The machine struggled to defend their size and mission. In no way am I suggesting that the children of the two systems will unite and die to finally get the parents to stop quarreling, as Shakespeare tells, but I now believe that my current role may in fact be that relationship. A combination of the two houses that was not properly vetted or thought through and was doomed from the beginning.

The meeting of fire and EMS for me is a natural fit. I don't see things in the contrast of Montague and Capulet but shades of Verona Citizenry. Fire based EMS makes sense to a point, but I've seen it taken so far past that point in some places, we're starting to finally turn on one another.
To quote James Andrews from PCU - "It used to be the Administration's job to make the rules. It used to be us against them, now its us against us."

The cousins of both families are at war because we take the least of each and apply it as the rule.

We're better than that. Those we make example of may not be "us", but the folks that take the time to even type EMS in the google search bar are miles ahead of those bringing the meaning of what we do into the gutter.

Fire engine, ambulance, squad, pick-up truck, volunteer, whatever capacity you provide you service, we should all be striving towards the same goal of providing the best possible service to our clients and patients, leaving all the political BS, name calling and ancient grudges outside. It doesn't belong at the scene, it belongs here, in the channels of communication we have opened when others failed.

It is here, in this new medium, we can have an International discussion about what to do next, instead of raising our voices in front of the people who call for help, not caring what color uniform walks in the door, or who pays the salary, just that help comes.

So vent my friends, get it out. Write a post out of frustration, erase it and start over again. Each version calming your anger and settling your frustrations.

Share your experiences so that those new in the business can learn what a true caregiver looks like and those who may be slipping can catch themselves before they fall.

8 comments:

On The Road said...

For the record HM, I don't think anyone doubts your abilities in Fire or EMS.

Worth considering, however, would you improve at one if you dropped the other? Not saying that this is the right thing for you - what's right for you is the job you are good at and enjoy, but I believe that it would be the right thing for the service users.

It seems to me that the systems you have over the pond are there to make the best of a bad situation, and EMS (and potentially Fire) suffers as a result.

Capt. Schmoe said...

Hap,
I think you may have misinterpreted my post. My beef wasn't that she was a private medic. My beef was that she was a lying bitch, who was so into her bitchiness that she failed to have any situational awareness as to the risk that she placing us in.

A few of her co-workers at the time still work private for the Huge Nationwide Private Ambulance Corporation and do a great job.

I am just glad she isn't in the business anymore. I'll bet her former co-workers don't miss her either.

Bernice said...

Hm... I'm feeling the need to chime in and state that my department has one ambulance of our own and contract a private agency to stay at our station and transport with our rescue squad. They provide the backup squad from another station in the area. If they are unavailable we call mutual aid from area volunteer agencies. Quite the blending of volunteer/paid. We have issues with them, they have issues with us, but for the most part we make it work.

Firecap5 said...

We have a private living in our house at the mill. When they first took over from us(We used to have our own medics)it was a hate hate relationship.

We are treated like second class EMT's even now, two years later by the private medics. However, we do get along better day to day. It surfaces from time to time, like when I announce the crew assignments and the medic comes a whining about who I assigned to the rig with him............Ticks me off to no end.

The Happy Medic said...

Capt Schmoe,
My post is not that that person was "a private" but that that example shows someone not taking the profession we're building seriously. That example and Epi's FF example are common tales from either side. I found it odd they surfaced within a few days of one another.

OTR, dropping one discipline won't make me better at the other. if you eliminated a hobby, would that make you a better care giver? If our friend AD gave up shooting, would his paramedic skills improve? No.

On The Road said...

HM, sorry, didn't mean to offend. What I was getting at was that if you were to focus the time you spend training and developing in both fields solely on developing in EMS or in Fire, you would be doing twice as much development in your chosen field. Perhaps for someone like you, who obviously loves both parts of the job, this is less of an issue, but for the people for whom it's a job and nothing else, it might make more of a difference.

Ckemtp said...

Happy knows my feelings on Fire Based EMS. I keep most of them private, because it's too hot of an issue that I don't have the time to address thoroughly. I will say that my opinions have changed a bit over time.

I now do not support anything other than EMS based EMS. No matter the service model, if EMS doesn't exist for the purpose of providing the best EMS possible, then I don't support it.

I do, however, have to say this. If a paramedic is using an ambulance job "as a stepping stone" to get a "real job" as a firefighter, perhaps that "paramedic" isn't in the game for the right reasons.

I should be working on The Handover anyway. (Coming out Friday!!)

the observer said...

What an interesting post! Great way to introduce a hot topic. And it is of interest to me as our esteemed City Council voted just last week to merge our 501(c)3 ambulance company into the fire department. Might we have a culture clash or two?

It's not a completely done deal, as there is a petition drive to bring it to a vote of the people.

In our case, Kansas City MO, EMS would do better apart from the fire department.