Friday, July 17, 2009

Split personalities

Yesterday two street thugs shot up a total of four Jersey City cops before being removed from the social equation by the interjection of some long arms. I am grateful that the cops who were hurt, two of them critically, are reported to be OK and are going to make a full recovery. I am equally grateful for the continued good work of companies like Smith and Wesson and Colt Firearms who continue to contribute to the safety of our country. That aside, I feel the need to complain a bit.

Regular readers of this blog know that I am blessed in two roles in the world of public safety as both a Dirty Copper and as a Paramedic. Police work comes pre equipped with a long tradition of service and honors and tradition that are as old as our country. Emergency Medical Service workers however are the bastard children of the triumvirate of the Big Three (Fire, Police and EMS). People often forget how critical of a job it really is. Case in point a story from the Jersey Journal in which the EMS responders that saved the lives of the injured cops are interviewed. My good friend and sometimes night shift partner The Fisherman is interviewed about his role in the event and the reporter does not even take time to acknowledge his proper job title. He is identified as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) when in fact he is a Registered Nurse.

Now, not to lessen the importance of the role of EMT. I would not do that. As the first rung in the food chain of EMS the EMT is the guy or gal that is going to get to your door and if nothing else make sure you get to a hospital. Many of the full timers I know for many years are fantastic at what they do and have short changed themselves by not aspiring to greater career heights. But the fact remains that the Paramedics and Registered Nurses are the only ones on the street that possess the advanced medical skills and equipment that replaced the lightning fast ride to the hospital in the hopes the patient would survive the trip of yesteryear to today's more measured response designed to bring life saving care to the patient on scene. I find it more than a bit annoying that EMS folks aren't given their due. Keep in mind that in all likelihood you will not have a fire at your home (thank God) and more than likely if you have an interaction with the local police it will be an unsatisfying interlude (because you were probably driving too fast). Statistically speaking though it is highly likely that you will have the need to avail yourself of the services of an EMS professional at least once in your life. And these are the folks that are going to do their level best to insure that you will be around to wave at the firemen in the annual Memorial Day Parade or curse the local cop who writes you a ticket for talking on your cell phone while driving.

Unlike days past when all you had to rely on was speedy cab ride or a group of well intentioned volunteers in a used hearse to get you to a local hospital, today's EMS professionals (Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics and Registered Nurses) are what make a large difference in your health and safety. Reporters and public alike take note of their importance and get to know their very important roles.

The story is here.

Photo is from the Jersey Journal. The Fisherman is the old bald guy. OK, the old bald guy second from left

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