Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An old friend

I reconnected with an old friend yesterday. I have really missed her. I had not talked to her in while. Somehow we ended up talking yesterday. We agreed to meet for drinks. That was a bad idea, it became just like old times. Early this morning we were sitting at the airport with tickets to Chicago in our hands... Needless to say, the night got a little out of hand. We started out at our old pub. We stayed till closing time. Both of us having a great time and not wanting the night to end, we decided to go to the casino. We stayed there for a few hours, and she did pretty well. So having some coin in our pockets, and still being pretty drunk, and both of us having a couple of days off, we decide we should go to Chicago. We drive to the airport, park the car, and walk to the ticket counter. We buy two round trip tickets to Chicago, and head to our gate. We had about an hour and a half till our flight left. We get to the gate and have a seat. We fall asleep. My friend wakes me up about ten minutes before we are to start boarding. Now we are very tired and starting to sober up. She said to me "Do you really think this is a good idea?". We agree, now that we are sober, this is not a good idea. We have no car or place to stay in Chicago, nobody knows we are going, and we could put her winnings to better use. We make a mad dash to the ticket counter to try and get the money back. We were lucky and able to get the money back, and we were able to make a mild recovery back to responsible adults. So we drive home, talking about how stupid we are, and trying to stay awake. It was an all around good time.... I have really missed her. JS

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fire prevention

October is national fire prevention month. The first week of October is fire prevention week. It is also marks the anniversary of the great Chicago fire. So I just want to talk briefly about some fire safety. Remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms. Practice home fire drills. If you have kids, practice Stop, Drop, and Roll. These simple things can save your life.

In honor of fire prevention month/ week most Fire Departments will host open houses. My stations open house is October 5th, noon till 4pm. So, if you know where I work stop be and say hello. If you don't know where I work, go visit your local Fire Department. This is a great time to let your kids climb on the fire trucks, and to answer any questions about the fire service or modern EMS that you may have. It is also a great time to see your tax dollars at work. Stay safe. JS

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fat and naked

In my time in EMS I have noticed that any time a super fat person needs help, they are always naked. Why is this? I would rather not see my patients naked. Don't get me wrong, I'm bigger than most, but I would never do what I have seen some of these people do. I remember going on a DIB. When we arrived we found our 550lbs patient laying in bed of a mobile home. This patient really smelled bad and was in respiratory distress. Oh, and she was naked. It took eight firefighters to move her onto a stokes basket and carry her out. She was so large that we had to pick up her rolls and place them on top of her so we could get her through the door way. We had to take the cot of the ambulance and placed the stokes on the floor of the rig. How do you get this large? When people do this they just don't endanger their own lives, they also endanger our lives as rescuers. I don't know why I brought this up today. Sorry if I offended anyone. JS

Friday, September 26, 2008

S.S. Arthur Anderson

As both of you know, I'm a bit of a history nut. I really like maritime history, and really enjoy great lakes history. A few days ago I took a little safari to Port Huron. Its about an hour drive from where I live. I was looking at the shipping schedule and saw the Anderson was due at the Blue Water bridge in about 20 mins. For those of you that don't know, the Anderson was the ship that was with the Edmond Fitzgerald the night it sank in Lake Superior over 30 years ago. It was the first on the scene, and they were the last ones to talk to the Fitz before she sank on that stormy November night. For me it was very cool to get see this famous ship underway! JS

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

machine rescue

As both of you know, I'm a state certified fire instructor. I just finished a train the trainer class on machine rescue. The class was taught by Michigan State University. It was a good class. Its funny though, I have never been on a real machine rescue. The closest I have been is some real good auto extractions. Train the trainer is a class for instructors. When you complete train the trainer you are then qualified to teach the regular course. I'm not sure I'm ready to teach a class on something I have never done. It just doesn't seem right. I guess I will just present the material as best I can. JS

Saturday, September 20, 2008


As both of you know, I hate winter. I live in Michigan. I love the summers here. But fall is coming. This is the last weekend of summer. I will be taking my boat out of the water any day now. As I was driving this morning I realized it was 80 degrees outside. So I called all my close friends and said "its the last boat trip of the summer". I was surprised when almost all of my friends said they would be here. I gave then real short notice. I think everyone just wants to get everything they can out of whats left of summer. It really is the end of summer. I'm not ready to winterize the boat yet, it feels like I just put it in the water! I think I need to move to Key West, where summer lasts all year long. I love Key West! Oh well, I'm not ready to leave my friends and family for warm weather yet. I guess I will just have to battle through the snow and ice for another winter! JS

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Death and the job.

I was reading a post on the blog "on the clock" titled "dead", and it made me want to speak on the topic of death and the job. I have worked in emergency services for about ten years. In that time I have seen a great deal of death. I remember my first CPR like it was yesterday, but I can't remember many since then. I think we all have different ways of dealing with death on the job.

Traumatic deaths are always worse than natural deaths. My first cpr was a man about 85 years old, he had died as a result of a large cardiac history. That was very easy to get over. Not long after that I had my first traumatic death. It was a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head. It was a middle aged married man, and he did it in a state park. I will never forget the sight of a body laying in a pool of blood. Those are the two of the calls that stand out the most for me. It's probably because they were the first deaths I had seen on the job.

Call me cold or heartless. But I have learned to deal with the death on the job. I just don't feel for my patients anymore. I believe it is their emergency and not mine. Don't get me wrong, I do everything I can to save the people I treat, but you can't save them all. The best you can hope for is to save some. I like what I do. I get to make a difference in someones life every time I go to work, and I do my best not to lose sight of that. But if I let every death I saw bother me, I would be an emotional wreck and in a nut house.

I would like to talk about false hope. EMS crews seem to do this a great deal. I have told many family members that their loved one is dead. Is is not a pleasant job, but has to be done. If a patient is obviously dead on scene, why work them? Why give the family false hope? Why would you start CPR on a cold patient with rigor? Because you want to put on a show for the family. Or is it because you like to give false hope. Or is it because you are to chicken shit to tell the family that their loved on is dead. Just let the doc at the hospital tell them, is that what you are thinking? I think it is better to tell them on scene and let them start healing. We do this job to help people and that doesn't always mean treating a patient, it could be more important to comfort the patients loved ones.

Now people in our profession deal with death differently. Some let it eat them up inside and they get burned out. Some turn to god and religion, some turn to drinking, some use sex. Me, I use my friends and family. Talking to them about a bad call always helps me deal with what we do. So I think it is important that we support each other. Its also important to remember that what bothers your coworker may not bother you. You may think its no big deal but they might be having a hard time with it. So, don't tell them to suck it up, or call them a pussy. Listen to them, and help them heal. We need to be there for each other, it is hard for other people not in our business to understand what we go through. We can all deal with death on the job, we just need the right outlet. JS

Sunday, September 14, 2008

SCUBA in the rain.

All it has done for the last 4 days is rain, but we didn't let that stop us from SCUBA diving the past couple of days. It was Kyle, Brian, and myself. Brian in a brand new diver, and doesn't have much experience in the murky, cold waters of Michigan. Visibility was about ten feet, and that's pretty good for where we were diving. Watching a new diver is always fun. Not to pick on Brian but I don't think he ever let go of the inflator valve on his Buoyancy compensator vest. He was constantly waving his arms try to control his direction, and of course he couldn't keep a good distance from the bottom. But don't get me wrong, Brian is a great dive Buddy. We were all like this when we first started diving. We had a good time. On our first dive we went to a couple of boat wrecks and swam around. On a later dive we went diving where the pier for an old amusement park used to be. We found some old stuff buried in the muck for a different era. BJ, you should have been there. Needless to say, rain be damned, we had a great time. I can't wait to dive again! Oh, a wet suit does not make me look good! JS

Friday, September 12, 2008

Remembering 9/11

I woke up this morning not thinking about the date, That is the first time in seven years I had not thought about 9/11. I got up, shined my shoes and donned my class A dress uniform. Then I drove to my firehouse, met my brothers, loaded up in a department vehicle and drove to the church. As I saw the flag draped coffin enter the church, I heard a fellow firefighter say "Its fitting for a firefighter to be buried on Sept. 11th.". That was when I realized it was 9/11.

My 9/11 story is pretty boring. I was at home and watched it happen on TV like the rest of America. I remember being worried about my many friends in the military, and wanted to make sure my family was OK. Next I called many of my fellow firefighters. We all wanted to do something. Most of us wanted to drive to NYC and help. That's the kind of people firefighters are.

As it turned out my department sent a few of us to NYC a few weeks after 9/11. As I was standing on the roof of the TEN HOUSE (FDNY E10 L10, being used as a command center) looking out on ground zero, it suddenly became real to me. Later that day as I was standing in ground zero, it took everything I had not to start crying. I was on the very ground where 343 of my brothers gave their lives for others. The people of New York were very good to the members of my department.

Seven years later I want to know. Why is America forgetting? Remember all the American flags? You couldn't find one at the store, everyone was sold out. Remember how nice everyone was to each other? Remember how we all came together? I do. Lets bring that back. Lets be the same people we were on 9/12/01. JS

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

my thoughts.....

The political left wants me to be tolerant. Why can't they be tolerant of me. I don't make anybody eat meat. But why do others tell me I can't eat meat? I don't make anyone own a firearm, why does the left want to stop me from owning one? I think if a group is going to preach tolerance, they need to be tolerant of every ones views, and not just their own. JS

Friday, September 5, 2008

doctor anonymous and crzegrl

I have to admit that tonight is the first time I have ever listened to Dr. A's show. I think I am hooked. Needless to say I will be listening again. Tonight he had Emily on from crzegrl.net. Emily is a personal friend of mine. I thought her interview was very informational and entertaining. For anyone that missed it you can replay it from Dr. A's blog. You will find a link to Dr. A's and crzegrl's blog on the right side of my page. Check them out. JS

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Big House.

As both of you know, I'm Not a big fan of U of M. I don't really like Ann Arbor. Today on my flight with the cops we flew over Michigan Stadium. So here are some pictures, and check out the new videos. One of us taking off and one of us landing. JS

Monday, September 1, 2008

on the boat

We were out on the boat and I was talking to BJ about my blog. Needless to say he had some input for me. He said that often my blog was to negative and I should be more positive in my writing, maybe he is right. He also said I'm not articulate enough in my post, and I come off far less intelligent than I really am. I don't know about that. Do I sound like an idiot in my posts? I'll be honest, I'm a fireman not a writer. So let me ask both of my readers this, what can I do to improve my blog? Please be serious. I would like to know.

I would also like to say that BJ was drinking.. no, he was drunk while we were out there. He got a hold of my camera and took a picture of his penis while I wasn't looking. I told him I was going to post it on my blog. I decided not, so BJ just for you, I will not post the picture of your penis.

Being on the boat today made me realize summer is almost over. Where did it go? It seems the older I get, the faster summer goes by. Why is that? I'm not ready to pull the boat out of the water for the year. It feels like I just put it in. I'm not ready for snow and ice. I say bring on global warming.....JS

Flying with the cops again.

I love to fly. Tomorrow I get to flying again with the local sheriffs office aviation unit. I'm really looking forward to going up again. What a great program this is. Where else can a guy like me go flying around in a law enforcement helicopter on patrol? It is very cool. JS