Thank you for your input

Code 3 for an intoxicated subject on a bus.

So there’s a drunk on the bus. What else is fucking new. There are only 3 call types involving buses – drunk, seizure, fall, and sometimes 2 or all 3 of them are present on the same call.

He obviously didn’t suddenly get drunk, and he boarded stumbled onto the bus some time ago, but for some reason the driver decided that now was a good time to stop the bus and call 911, instead of finishing the route first. It’s not like there’s a bus full of people who actually have things to do.

“Can’t you guys just take him off the bus?” Some random impatient woman asks.

“Why thank you for your input, random civilian who’s not getting her hands dirty. First, we’ve only been on the bus for 12 seconds. Then, as a responsible EMS provider, I have to actually examine him, seeing how I wasn’t on this bus observing him until 16 seconds ago, and therefore have no idea what’s wrong with him, even though it seems pretty obvious to anyone with one eye. Besides, it’s raining outside, so I’m really in no hurry to get him or us wet. And finally, the smart play is for my partner right here to actually go and get the gurney and set it up right outside the bus doors so I’m not physically holding this drunk guy up on the sidewalk in the rain once I get him off the bus. You see, drunk people aren’t terribly good at standing up or walking, and my back has been beaten up enough. And I certainly don’t want him to fall, because that means I would have to pick him up while you record it with your phone. You’d probably even be the first one to complain to my boss about him falling AND send the video to the press. I have no desire for any media attention or extra paperwork. So thank you, again, kind random civilian who’s not getting her hands dirty, for your astute suggestion.”

What ARE politicians doing that’s so important that they travel with lights and sirens?

WCBS-TV has a piece about New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s caravan ignoring stop signs and speed limits and generally driving like assholes just TWO DAYS AFTER he announced a massive plan, Vision Zero, to slow drivers down after a rash of pedestrian casualties, followed by another piece about his refusal to answer questions about his drivers driving like assholes.

The New York Times, when reporting WCBS-TV’s piece, mentioned other politicians driving speeding around with lights and sirens while presumably NOT responding to emergency calls for service.

If you’ve read anything on this blog, you’re probably familiar with the regard it has for politicians. (None.) You’re also probably aware of this blog’s disdain for responding to most kinds of calls with lights and sirens because the safety downside is high given the low rate of actual emergencies and the high rate of 911 abuse and hysterical overreaction these days.

This story is also ironic on a different level because in the very same city, the FDNY is one of those smarter agencies that, for safety reasons, does not send the entire battalion with lights and sirens to simple alarms with no other corroborating reports, which are like 99% false. So much for that joke about 200 years of tradition unimpeded by progress. At least in one regard.

You may also recall another post here about Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and his regular use of lights and sirens, also while presumably NOT responding to emergency calls for service.

Or the wreck involving former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, who was not wearing a seat belt when his driver was traveling at 91 mph with lights and sirens activated, again while presumably NOT responding to emergency calls for service.

Usually, without fail, the default excuse these politicians and their staff go to is “security reasons.” I’m pretty sure we’re way past the JFK era when security was lax, and not being a historian, I struggle to recall any recent credible threats directed beforehand at local or regional politicians that would get security details in a hyperalert state. If anything, to mitigate or reduce such perceived or real threats, perhaps NOT monopolizing the roads in a city known for its extraordinary traffic and NOT acting like total asshats while doing said monopolizing of the roads may in fact be helpful.

I don’t know what the fuck these politicians are doing, but I sure as hell know they are most certainly NOT going to anything of an emergent nature that would require them to speed or even use their steering wheel horn, let alone lights and sirens.

Use your nose to be nosy and to smell

We are packing up to leave a kitchen fire, the fire now knocked down.

It’s in a nicer neighborhood, but people are as nosy as in any other neighborhood. A woman and her teenagers approach.

“Was that a meth lab?”

“I don’t think so. It’s just a kitchen.”

“Why does it smell so bad like that?”

“It’s a pretty typical fire smell.”

“Is it bad that we’re breathing it in?”

“Well, if you stayed inside instead of coming out here…”

I don’t like working nice areas

These motherfuckers tend to complain about the dumbest fucking things, and they apparently have nothing better to do. Like¬†rig parking,¬†being covered up with blankets, removing clothes, carrying heavy people, shoes in the house, waking up the baby, not biting our tongues enough when they’re being stupid or not minding their own business.

The list goes on and on.

Dear bystanders

Dear bystanders, passers-by, family members, friends, etc.,

We know this usually isn’t an everyday occurrence for you. We know this may be the most excitement you’re going to see this year. And we know you just really want to help, which is why all of you want to chime in. Usually all at once.

Even without your jibber-jabber, there is already enough noise and other hubbub on scene, and none of that is helping my raging headache.

Here’s the thing… We really don’t care what you heard while you were in the other room. We don’t care what you think happened. We don’t care what you heard from that other guy, or your neighbor, or your cousin, or the voices in your head, or even your cat. We don’t care what your son told your daughter before she told her boyfriend before he told his auntie before she told you.

If you were not present at the event and did not see what happened with your own two eyes, then you and your open mouths are, as historians, useless to us, and thus, wasting our time.

So, if you really want to help, please just be quiet. Silence is golden. Clearing the clutter, moving the car out of the driveway, locking up the barking dog, turning off the TV, putting out your cigarettes, shutting up the kids, silencing those phones, getting the medical cards, gathering the medications – none of those helpful actions requires the use of your mouth.

Thank you.



A Tale of Two Civvies*

Code 3 for man down.

It’s a drunk, as usual. The office workers who called it in meet us outside. We take him to the most inappropriate place on Earth, the ED.

“Thanks, guys. You are very much appreciated.”

“No problem.”

Several hours later…

Code 3 for woman down.

“RP is refusing to approach the subject.”

Whatever. That’s standard. That’s why these fucking cell phone warriors/passers-by call all the time.

A woman approaches as we arrive.

“I called. She’s over there.”

We wake this drunk woman up. Apparently not that drunk because she screams that she’s “a taxpayer” and we are harassing her.

We shoo her off, and she walks off without any difficulty. It’s the most appropriate course of action, the complete opposite of transporting her to the ED. Around here, the cops and the jail aren’t that interested in drunks anyway. We also make her put her now-empty bottle in the recycling bin. That’s a nice touch.

The woman who called walks over, and rudely gestures for us to come to her with one finger.

“You guys are going to let her go?”

“Yes, ma’am, she wants nothing to do with us.”


Are you new to this world? Or this neighborhood, for that matter? Why don’t you let her sleep at your house?

“It’s a free country. She’s not that drunk, and she has as much a right to choose how she lives as you do.”

This woman rudely makes some weird waving gesture with both her arms and walks away.

Oh my, when you have no class, you have no class.

“You’re welcome.”

*Yes, I know, if you want to nitpick, it actually is slang for civilian clothes, not civilians. But then the pun wouldn’t work.

FAQ #3

Q: Why do crews sometimes appear to be laughing and joking on calls? It does not seem very professional.

A: First and foremost, most of the calls are so stupid that it requires no intervention. As a comparison, no one expects taxi drivers to do anything but drive safely to the destination.

A small minority of calls, however, are indeed stressful in many different ways. A very sick person. An injured child. An extraordinary asshole insulting us the entire time. A combative fuckhead who wrestles with a half dozen responders. Add those to such routine stress as our stupid bosses and idiot co-workers and unrealistic oversight agencies, and it can really drag you down.

For most of us, our world is a small world, and calls are social events in a sense. We see old classmates and friends we haven’t seen in years. We see people with whom we used to suffer through shifts. We see those we don’t like but, after all, we let bygones be bygones. So imagine the 4 or 6 of us showing up on scene when someone cries wolf – it’s a great time to catch up when there’s nothing to do.

In addition, we naturally understand the harmful effects of stress and we don’t need a scientific paper to know that. What better time to de-stress a little than on stupid calls?