Paralanguage 2/3

Six weeks later.

“Dispatch, Medic-40, do you have anything working on Halcyon and Winston? We just got passed by two engines and a truck running code-3?”

Sitting at the red light the fire department just flew past us and I figure it’s possible they could use some EMS on scene wherever they are headed. Besides, dispatch was about to move us up to the Big City and anything to keep us here in the quiet suburbs is a good thing. So I’m basically fishing for a call.

“Medic-40, stand by, I’m checking.” Fifteen seconds later. “Medic-40, yeah, respond code-3 to the fire stand by at 104 Garden St.”

“Medic-40 copies, we’re en-rout.”

Fire stand by calls are some of my favorite calls. Basically we sit in the ambulance and watch the firefighters put out a fire and if anyone gets hurt we take care of them. Most times no one gets hurt so it’s basically dinner theater EMS style as we get a chance to eat lunch and watch something interesting.

I’m driving as this is Scottie’s tech. We’re both Paramedics so when one person is in the back taking care of a patient they are said to be “teching” the call. We switch up on every call so I’m the driver/helper on this call. I catch up to the fire truck and pull in behind them at the apartment building. I didn’t see any significant smoke as we pulled up so I suspect it’s not that big of a blaze.

The EMS personnel in this county are usually well outside of the fire department command structure, yet when we enter into a situation like this we become the medical branch connected to the battalion commander (BC); the BC calls the shots on a fire scene. Scottie and I walk up to make contact with the BC and let him know we are here and where to direct patients if any should turn up.

It’s LT from six weeks ago working as acting BC. Crap!  Scottie and I have run into him maybe five times in the last six weeks since my indiscretion and every time he’s been cold to us; me in particular. It’s not like we have a few minutes at the water-cooler to work things out between us; every time we see each other we have a job to do and we’re in public scrutiny and the patient takes priority. It makes it hard to work out things like this.

Scottie tells him where we are and that we’ll stand by if he needs anything. LT ignores me and tells Scottie that it’s probably nothing but wants us to hang out until he can confirm the extent of the damage. Looks like it was a small kitchen fire to an apartment on the top floor; minimal damage to adjacent units.

The parking lot is full of families that were told to leave the building until things are under control. There are street vendors selling popsicles and churrros in the parking lot as LT comes back to tell us we are clear from the scene. No injuries and no need for EMS. I happily drive off to the next call.


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