Monthly Archives: January 2016

Hind End – Open Mic

Car Seat* Story by Chief Steve Moody

The emergency medical patient was a family member of our fire inspector.  So, the fire inspector rode along in the back with me and the patient when it came time to transfer her to a Wichita hospital. A third medic served as the driver.

The patient made the trip without any complications.

What I didn’t know when I took the seat as the driver on the return trip was what the preceding driver did before he stepped out of the ambulance.  He laid the radio mic in the crack alongside the right-hand side of the driver’s seat.  And, when he stepped out, it slid down.

So, when I sat my hind end in the seat – unbeknownst to me – I keyed the mic.

Now, this would’ve been okay if the fire inspector and I hadn’t gotten into a slightly negative conversation about the department.  For the next hour we bantered back and forth from one subject to the next – all with a negative twist.

A friend back in Salina did his best to cover our conversation by keying a microphone  –  for an hour.  The reason the friend only had to key up for an hour is that was the point when I made a slight seat adjustment.  That adjustment eased the pressure off keying my mic.  And that was when I heard a message from my friend – “Medic #1 check for an open mic.”

Immediately, the fire inspector and I realized what had happened.   We both thought our jobs were probably finished.   I believe the only thing that saved us was there wasn’t necessarily anything untruthful about our conversation.  It was just very critical and unkind.

The lesson was rather ironic.  We were literally talking crap.  And the crappy conversation was being transmitted because of a hind end.  So, learn a lesson from my experience.

And, in the words of my Grandma, “If you can’t say something nice about somebody, don’t say anything at all.”

Just the Good Times

good timesThe call location was an address in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in town. The patient was a middle-aged man that was depressed about some things and it just got to be too much. An overdose would end it all. And it did.

That was an emergency call that took place during my early career many years ago. Over three decades in emergency service hasn’t helped me understand many of the tragedies we face. But it has given me a unique perspective on how emergency responders deal with tragedy.

One of the toughest medics I ever worked with was a woman. Most thought she was a rough, tough broad that had a heart of steel. They were wrong. More than once I saw the tears she tried to hide. But, she was tough – tough enough to work a complete career.

Some believe medics are wired with a shortage of compassion. And, that might be true for a few, but it’s not the norm. Here’s what I think.

I believe most medics metaphorically put on a full set of body armor when they respond to emergencies. The incident – as we call it – is focused on the patient. If the patient happens to be deceased, then we transform the situation into a learning experience.

That explains the incident itself, but what about the large amount of time after the call? Does the body armor stay on indefinitely? I don’t believe it does. This is what I believe is the second piece to the puzzle.

It’s a concept called, “Just the Good Times.” An episode in the sitcom called “Everybody Loves Raymond” explains it well.

The lead character in the sitcom is named Raymond. As the best man in his brother’s wedding he gives a toast. About everything bad that could happen with family interference had just happened. But, Raymond’s message to the family and friends was that they weren’t going to focus on those times. They would only remember the good times.

That I believe is what medics do in their professional life. Unfortunately, I also believe they do it subconsciously. I say unfortunately, because medics typically aren’t any better than the average Joe at blocking out bad events in their everyday lives.

I challenge all medics to recognize what a great skill you have. But, take it a step further and practice it in your everyday life. And, help other non-medics do the same.

Just the good times… just the good times.

p.s. I met the Fort Leavenworth command officer when I worked in Leavenworth.  When this officer was in the field he had a driver.  His name was Elvis. 

Grant Jamis aka Clark Kent aka Superman

Student New2His black framed glasses are akin to Clark Kent aka Superman.

His name is Grant Jamis and he is one of three new student resident firefighters.  Grant and his family live in the Wichita area.

He was originally going to pursue his education in diesel mechanics, but changed over to fire service at the semester.

We’ll be watching to see if Grant makes the transition to Superman at his first fire.

Welcome aboard Grant.

HAZMAT Demonstration

BG ProductsThe LEPC Local Emergency Preparedness Committee conducted their regularly scheduled meeting this afternoon at BG Products.  Captain Troy Jellison, Master FF Derick Boggs, and Master FF Caleb Carson gave a demonstration to the group.

They brought a small chemical sample to test whether the product had flammable off-gas, whether it was flammable, whether it was miscible with water, and whether it was corrosive.  After these tests the group was told what the chemical was – floor cleaner.

El Dorado FD responds to hazardous material calls throughout Butler County through a county/city agreement .  If things get complicated the Regional team from Wichita can be called.