Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Show All Answers
We also spend quite a bit of time maintaining our equipment, doing routine public safety inspections (one major reason we hardly ever have fires anymore), training for all types of emergency response and, of course, the paperwork associated with these activities. We also use our knowledge and energy to provide emergency training programs to the general public. Most popular of these is our NEAT and BEAT programs, (Neighborhood Emergency Action Team, and Business Emergency Action Teams).
Pre-hospital care has, in our lifetime, grown from a matter of providing simple “Load-and-Go” services (with a fairly poor history of success), into a complex, highly technical field that involves electronic cardiac monitoring and defibrillation, intravenous fluid therapy, and sophisticated intervention techniques, some of which were not available even in emergency rooms twenty years ago. This level of care, known as “Advanced Life Support” (ALS), has significantly improved a patient’s chances for survival and full recovery, but the procedures require more and better-trained personnel to implement them.
The standard response to a medical-aid emergency in the City of San Marino includes the engine company arriving with three trained responders including (80% of the time) one or more paramedics, and the paramedic ambulance with two firefighter paramedics. The City’s fire station is strategically located to allow arrival at any address in the City within four minutes, and therefore an engine company will usually be the first help on-scene.
When an incident turns out to be minor in nature, the first-arriving unit can always cancel other resources via radio. Another, similar question is often asked during routine duties.
Second, an important part of the value of our Public Safety Inspection program is the familiarization of your local firefighters with the buildings and businesses within the city. While they check for hazards and consult with business owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, firefighters are also familiarizing themselves with access points, high-value locations to give priority to in their firefighting efforts (typically the office area or files), potential hazards to themselves or to citizens, and possible resources to aid them in their firefighting efforts (skylights to assist in venting hot gases and smoke from the business, for example).
Another, less common purpose for roof venting is to eliminate a “backdraft” condition. Backdraft conditions result when a free-burning fire consumes all the available oxygen in a closed structure. Super-heated combustible gases remain, requiring only the introduction of oxygen (air) to explode. Simply opening the front door to effect entry can trigger a back draft explosion, and has killed many firefighters.
Driving “Code 3” (red lights and siren), for example, quickly goes from thrilling, to chilling. Nearly half of all firefighters who die on the job are killed in traffic collisions while responding to emergencies.
However, we do derive a deep personal satisfaction from making a “Good Stop” on a structure fire, or from saving someone from a heart attack. This is not even the most emotionally satisfying part of the job. Few people will ever get to know personal satisfaction of having a person who we last saw en route to an emergency room in critical condition stop by the fire station to thank us for our part in saving their life. Something like that can keep a person grinning for weeks.
Virtually every study of “emotional rewards” of various professions, if the study includes firefighting, reports our job as number one. Few firefighters are surprised at this. However, this is a demanding job, actually more a lifestyle with strange hours, unique challenges and a “bottom line” that is, literally, Life and Death. On the downside, recent studies have shown that firefighters are prime candidates for Critical Incident Stress Syndrome, the psychological damage and behavioral changes associated with exposure to strong emotional situations where the sufferer feels powerless to intervene, or cannot integrate the sometimes horrible reality of an incident into his conscious mind.