While I enjoy sharing the very basic facets of emergency service work with people who are interested or just starting out, there are, as I have said many times before, plenty of people who are simply not cut out for this type of work but mistakenly think they are, usually because of 9/11 and TV and movies. There are also plenty of civilians and politicians who think we sit around and drink coffee all day, also usually because of TV and movies.
I’m not saying this work is so difficult that we, and only we, can do it. Quite the contrary – monkeys can physically do what I do, and it is here where the key to this work lies. Rather, it’s the non-physical side of this work that makes it difficult. Anyway, directly or indirectly, we’ve covered this ground many times before.
The usual ride-along arrangement is some 9-to-5 slot or a single 12-hour shift during the day. I really dislike this. Ride-alongs get but a fleeting glimpse into what we do. They need to do an entire month – politicians, reporters, students, civilians, siblings, whoever. The whole month. Minimum. Whatever the schedule is – nights, weekends, 24 hours, 48 hours, plus mandatory holdovers – they need to do every single shift for a month.
That should weed some people out.
And cut down on the number of assholes bothering me when I’m getting coffee.