What Do You Make?

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I couldn’t have said it better myself! I’m not in this business to make money, because we are one of the lowest paid professions out there. Did you know that over 75% of America relies on VOLUNTEER firefighters?? These people, like me, risk their lives for NOTHING! Zero pay! I work on an ambulance, that’s how I make money to pay bills to continue schooling so I can VOLUNTEER as a firefighter. I bet you didn’t know that 96% of EMT’s cannot pay their bills off their single full time job? They require another one or more jobs to make a living. When I find that webpage again, I will put the link here. (Unable to locate it, however for lots of information about this career visit EMS World Magazine. This is great information for us! But good for the public to read and understand too! Just one of MANY magazines out there.)

To pay my bills, I’m working 4 regular jobs and any side jobs I can. I work on two different ambulance services, I teach at one local college and about to start teaching at another, I teach CPR/First Aid for a friends business, I volunteer in that free time I have with my local fire department, AND I do whatever I can for money on the side of all of that.

But none of it has to do with the money. I love working on the ambulance and firetrucks love holding grandmas hand and listening to her when she calls 911 just for someone to visit. I love listing to grandpas war stories and his childhood. I love listening about your kids while I try to calm you. I love saving your life, even if it’s just by talking to you or listening. I will give my life for someone I’ve never met, I determined that the day I signed up for my first class.

I love teaching too, I love sharing my small amount of knowledge with new people trying to get in this career. I love helping people learn. I love watching them grow. I want to help them become better at their career, not only with their hands on skills, but their people skills as well. I want them to know that it’s not about giving drugs all the time, it’s about the patients mental needs too. Maybe they just need someone to talk to, in fact most the time that’s why you’re taking an elder patient to the hospital. Strictly because their family doesn’t visit, they get lonely and just need an ear.

Listen to them! You will hear some incredible stories. I promise.

I love my career! The only thing I hope to change about it, is to gain more respect for our field all around. The next time you hear those “annoying sirens” or don’t pull over for us, just remember what you would want people to do if you need us. Too many people complain that we cause more traffic and problems running lights and sirens, but when you need us you want to know what took so long. Did you PULL OVER AND STOP the last time an ambulance came up behind you? Or did you try to out run it?

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Gone, But Not Far Away

I’ve mentioned in a few posts here about a Captain at one of my jobs that I’ve had problems with, more specifically the problems I wrote about in this post. If you don’t feel like reading that, long story short…as I walked past my Captain he pulled me down on his lap, leaned me forward, slapped my ass, and told me what a bad girl I am. I think about it a lot and it’s really hurt me emotionally. It was embarrassing because there were people around that watched this and the guy is just nasty, I hate that he ever laid his hands on me! I hate it more than I can explain. I just hate so much that it happened to me.

My biggest regret with all of it was not getting him into more trouble. I begged my chief to just talk to him, let him know it’s not to happen again, but not to take it to anyone else. I was embarrassed and I didn’t want other employees around work saying stuff about me and calling me names for “tattling” on him, even though I technically didn’t, but they don’t care about that. I wish now that I had ignored all of my feelings and done the right thing by turning him in. It was after this happened that I found out I wasn’t the first he did things like that too and he got off with that as well. It was the worse decision I’ve ever made. He’s made me suffer since that day.

That will all end very soon, finally! My Captain, as you can probably tell, isn’t the brightest bulb in the box. He decided to operate for 5 months without the required certifications but kept telling everyone he had the certification, just kept forgetting to bring it in. He couldn’t afford the class, so without permission had a PO sent to have a class paid for, after looking at it, he registered for an initial class, not the renewal…meaning he was well expired. During this time he ran several calls, all of which we can not bill for. We also have to pay a fine for every single call he was on, this is currently amounting to 5 figure numbers, but will probably be more. Our service is a division of the Police Department, we have our own EMS Chief but the Chief of Police is higher than him and the ultimate power. The Police Chief delayed his vacation to write up paperwork after meeting with city officials.

The Captain has been on what we refer to as his “4 day” and will return tomorrow, which I also happen to be working. As soon as he returns to work he is being called to the Assistant Police Chief’s office, at which time he will be handed a letter telling him he is on administrative leave…every single person that has been put on administrative leave so far has never returned! I can’t even begin to explain to tell you how relieved I felt when I found all this out! But I also had some panic…this guy if mentally unstable (long story for another day) and is going to know he’s about to be fired. He never pays his bills and blows his money, he’s already about to lose his house…this is going to be bad. My Chief expects it to be so bad that he is asking he get escorted to our station to pick up his belongings and escorted by police out of town. He is going to blame me, blame the Chief, blame anyone he can, but in reality it’s not one’s fault but his own. Had he notified someone that he was expired then we could have worked around it, but he chose to keep it hidden.

There have been numerous people fired from other departments, not just ours, for having expired licenses or certifications. If you are a licensed EMT then you are REQUIRED by law and insurances to have a CPR card, if you let it go and operate as an EMT, not only can your company not bill the insurance or patient, they can also be fined up to $600 for every single call you were on. If you have a Paramedic license, then you are also required to have a CPR card but you must also maintain ACLS certification, and now in some states you’re required a PALS card as well, if you let any of these go then same deal…you can’t bill and you can be fined. We are losing a lot of money right now and we’re already struggling in this economy like everyone else. He really messed up.

It can be tough working in our field. I have to maintain my NREMT Paramedic license, two state Paramedic licenses, CPR card, CPR/First Aid instructor card, ACLS, PALS, PHTLS, ITLS (different states require specific classes), Car Seat Tech, and many more cards, plus anything required for the fire department as well. Not an easy task if you fall behind. 4 years of schooling plus school for the rest of my life and not making enough money with one job to support myself…sign me up! I love my job!