Sunday, January 31, 2010


The little girl bravely complied with the troopers request as she gathered her mother's purse and her tiger, then clambered out over the console and out of the driver's door. She narrowly missed stepping in what was once her mother's lunch, now two piles of emesis, steaming on the highway. She paid no attention to her mother's groans as she took the troopers hand and walked to the ambulance.

She stood, waiting in the ambulance as the firefighter strapped her booster seat into the jump seat. The little girl climbed into her seat and settled down into it, holding still as the EMT secured the straps. She watched as the medic and the student rolled the gurney along with her mother toward the ambulance, then sliding it inside.

Her mother's groans evolved into shrieks of agony as the stabbing pain in her abdomen increased, causing her to loose control over it. It was then that the fire captain saw the fear in the little girl's eyes and the desperate clutching of her tiger.

A few words of assurance from the trooper and the look of fear passed. The short, yet important bond between the two was restored, but the look of fear in her eyes will not soon be forgotten.

I was grateful that someone was there to flag us down as we pulled up at the apartment. The mans body language shouted urgency as he led us through a passageway, into a small courtyard and up a flight of stairs. He opened the door to his apartment and led us inside where his two year old son was laying motionless on the couch, with a fixed stare off to the side. The boys mother, controlling her anxiety, told us how he was playing one minute, then sick the next.

The child had an extensive neurological history, including focal-motor seizures and hydrocephalus. However, the past year had been going well with a shunt implanted inside of his skull doing a good job. And now this.

My crew assessed the patient and began treatment. Mercifully, an ambulance arrived quickly and soon the child was loaded into the ambulance.  

As the doors to the ambulance closed, the child's parents hugged before getting into their car and following the ambulance to the hospital. I was standing right there and the saw the look of deep seated fear in both of their eyes. Fear of the known, the hospital, the doctors and the testing and fear of the unknown.


Fear. One of the things that I am not going to miss when my time here at the K.B.F.P.D. is done. Mine, my co-workers and my customers.

Thanks for reading,


  1. I'm with you-dealing with the emotions of family members is far more traumatic for us than handling the emergency. I've had my share of dead kids and parents and hope I never see another.

  2. Dear Captain Schmoe,
    This is such a powerful post. One thing you didn't mention is how much it contributes to mental fatigue as well as anxiety. As a first responder, we rely on your cool head but also your humanity. Many times, we do not know what we ask. But we are grateful to get it.

    Ann T.