Saturday, April 24, 2021

Coffee With A View: When you call 911

When I came back here to Wyoming in October of 2017, I considered myself a "newbie". Even though I was born and raised here, I was gone for about 35 years. Changes? Oh hellz, yeah! But not too much had changed, and I absolutely loved it. That Americana, hometown life was exactly what I needed and yearned for. Not to discount my wonderful time in Amador County, California...for it was there that I found my "second home". The little Gold-Rush downtowns, the beautiful, oak-studded hills and Sierra mountain vistas, Amador's wine country...

It was a very rough and tough decision to make, moving back to my home state, but I heeded the call in being close to family and friends who had already made their decision long ago to stake their ground and make a life here. Being close to my "Tribe". That is what building a "Third Life" is all about.

When you settle into a community/tribe, there are things you might expect, and yes (I have to say) take for granted. All of the economical elements come into play: Food, water, utilities, transportation, communication, resources, employment, etc.

However, not many really think about the case of emergency...when you have to call 911...a stroke, a cardiac arrest, a respiratory problem, a stabbing/shooting, domestic violence, etc. Most think it's a "given". Just call 911, right? You live your life, thinking "Oh, that won't happen to me/my family".

And then it does happen.

I signed on with flight services first, and then eventually transferred to ground EMS. My position has been mostly administrative...vehicle maintenance, medical equipment, AP, etc. Basically, I keep the lights on at the stations, the rigs going, the equipment functioning and repaired. I'm also the editor of a [internal] quarterly newsletter for ground and flight for the Northwest Region.

I also manage the community relations/outreach side of things, and although "things" have been quite difficult to manage lately, my heart will always be with the crews of Fremont County, no matter who is at the helm of the ship. They are the ones who bust their asses for every 911 call. They are the ones on the front lines...who get very little sleep, have to deal with PTSD, have to deal with every call and scene day and night, 24/7...and above that, have to deal with the nasty politics that go on above their heads and try their very best to go above and beyond for their patients.

There, I said it.

I've said this before, but here it is again: If you want to know the truth about community relations/society, talk to an EMT. Talk to a Paramedic. Talk to a First Responder that is on-scene and has to deal with what is in front of them. It's often not a pretty picture, and I know tensions are high, given the George Floyd verdict. But just try to put yourself in the situations of our EMTs/Paramedics, whose ultimate goal is to save a life. Doesn't matter whose life it is, they will do their damned best to try to save it. They are not armed; they don't carry anything to protect their own selves. They are vulnerable, yet they put themselves in harm's way to do one thing: Care.

How does a county/community solve the problems of emergency services? There is a lot more to solve before those calls even go out to our First Responders! But what are our city and county leaders doing to actually solve these problems? Crime, murder, assaults, drugs, violence, rape, abuse, stabbings, shootings, suicides, overdoses, etc.

Whose "fault" is it where we all seem to be failing? Where do the justices and the injustices really lie?

This is America, today. Problems need to be solved above the heads of those on the front lines of care, whether governmental or corporate...and unfortunately, they have all failed us. Even the State of WY has failed us, in not making EMS services essential.

Fremont County, WY: On July 1, 2021...when you call 911...what will happen?

Photo by Camille Barnes, EMT

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog piece are my own and not necessarily those of my employer and their associates.

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