Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fun times . . .

411 and 911 are NOT the same thing. I'm just saying. And I would REALLY like to know what in the hell goes through peoples' minds before they call the jail. Did they print our damn phone number in the front under the heading: "Don't know who else to call? Call us!" For those special few people who do NOT call 911 for stupid things like Burger King being out of lemonade or McDonald's being out of chicken nuggets; there is a whole other category. These people call the jail, or dispatch, who punts them over to the jail all night.
We have become the non-emergency, but I think it's an emergency, but I need legal advice, but he has warrants hotline of the whole damn county. The one that made my blood pressure go up the fastest was during a massive power outage. "Can you tell me if John Q. Public Schools are open today?" Lady, are you kidding me? IT'S A JAIL!! Hell, I'm not even sure if we have court tomorrow right now.
My other pet peeve is when people call to see if we are holding someone, the answer is no, and then the fun starts.
"Well he was arrested an hour ago! Where could he be?"
"Arrested, pulled over or just detained?"
"By what department?"
"I don't know!"
"Where was he arrested at?"
"I don't know!"
"Ok, well this is a large county with multiple jails and departments. You may want to try somewhere else."

The even better part is when some well meaning police department in our county or an adjoining one pulls the "They're going to county" stunt. This is where said alleged law breaker is arrested by someone other than the SO and the arresting officer tells the loving family "They're going to county." What said officer fails to mention is the following.
1. Depending on policy, procedure and fresh charges they may have to be processed by that agency first.
2. They have to wait until we can free up a road patrol unit or a transport unit to meet them if they are not bringing them to us.
3. If they ARE bringing them to us, they have to free up a unit.
4. Sometimes they just pull stuff out of their butt.

So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

You've got so much love in you . . .

Sometimes the only thing that makes work bearable is your friends. A riot could happen, the city could burn down, we could have ten CPR runs; with the right people it would be ok. PT is even bearable with your brothers.
You've got to have the right people, the right amount of humor, sarcasm and support. It's tough to find the right mix and the right people. When you do, keep them. Our shift at the firehouse has been together for five years, with the exception of one person. I can't even begin to tell you what a rarity THAT is especially at our department. Everyone knows just exactly what everyone else will do during a call. If you want to shift trade you have to get it approved by the shift Lt. first. He only lets certain people substitute. We get a little cranky with change, and Lt. has a short fuse.
When they changed our schedules at the jail they split three shifts into four platoons. Our entire shift with the exception of a few people bid the same platoon. I guess we don't like change there either. Unfortunately our Sgt. did not come with us, and the three that we are stuck with are not used to the "family." Even though the whole shift is together, without good leadership our morale is in the toilet.
The academy follows the same lines, if you get stuck in a group project choose your partners wisely.
I love my brothers.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I thought we had hiring standards . . .

Sometimes the people I work with make me wonder if we actually have hiring standards or if we just put an ad on the internet. I feel that said ad would have gone something like this:
"Do you have a pulse? Do you breathe? Do you want to wear a uniform? Hire out at your local fire department and/or sheriff's office!!"
Seriously, I'm not claiming to be the brightest crayon in the box; but I at least make it into the burnt orange section most days.
Some examples from the last week that make my brain hurt.

At the jail, someone typed the inmates' cell numbers and then put the attorneys' names on the court docket instead of the inmates to be called for court. Now I realize most people think attorneys are crooks, but that's a little excessive.

When looking for coverage, a new firefighter hit "reply all" to an email from the fire chief and then typed his email. Only problem is it wasn't just our department's listserve. It went to half of the county sheriff's office, the EMA and part of the health department. Nice.

People who cannot spell in reports (fire/EMS/police) and then do not use spell check on the electronic version. It's there, use it.

People who attempt to use phrases and then fail miserably. Example: "It was eye shocking" followed by "It was an eye awakening experience." What?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Two hours of my life . . . I hope I saved yours

The fire department I work for serves a college campus. That being said, every shift I work that falls on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday deals predominately with alcohol.
We get sent to student housing for "possible seizure." Well, since we had already had an earlier seizure call, and our shifts tend to follow trends, we weren't surprised. So getting there we find this kid completely alert, no postictal state, nada. He also has the most bloodshot eyes I have seen in a while. Hmm, it's getting clearer.
I distract the university cop by having them help my partner haul the cot to the third floor and ask the one question that gets to the heart of the issue. "So what did you take?"
"Uh . . . nothing."
"Uh . . . pot. For the first time."
"Ok. And?"
"Uh . . . liquor."
"Ok. And?"
"Uh . . . Adderall."
"Ok. That's not prescribed to you is it?"
"Uh . . . No."
"Did you snort it?"
"Well . . . not the Adderall. I snorted the Oxycotin. This was about seven hours ago."
"I see, that explains a few things."

Long story short, the kid probably didn't have a seizure. What he did have was a serious need to talk and have someone listen to him. This kid had a lot going on in his life, enough to maybe want to kill himself. So my partner and I called dispatch, told them we'd be in service but remaining on the scene. Two hours later, at almost seven in the morning, we left. We left him in the custody of the university police, because he didn't really need to be alone. I hope we made a difference. I don't know. Some people need to reach for the life preserver, but you don't need to drown giving it to them. We're not qualified to give him advice or treat him in that arena; but I am qualified to listen. He needed that. We needed to listen. I hope he gets the help he needs and uses it.

Luckily the only two other calls in that two hours were the other squad's problem.

Don't think the chief didn't have something to say to us though . . . "You guys finally done with the Kumbaya and s'more session?"