Sunday, June 27, 2010

Down Time

This is my first feeble shot at a Blog Carnival submission. I don’t write much about subjects which are handed to me, but what the heck. I waited too long and will have to post this when I didn’t want to, still being in mourning at the loss of Medic999, but here goes. It’s a first shot and maybe some folks will come and read it, then look at the other offerings I have.
As I work in the volley side, our definition of “down time” is somewhat different from the career. Career folks spend their time at the station or out on posted positions. Volunteers show up to work when called, with a some exceptions. Many volley EMS Squads do duty periods and I know of at least a couple of Fire Departments that maintain a response crew 24/7 in the station to provide initial response. The closest my Department comes to this is when we have storm standbys, or are ‘moved up’ to cover another district while they work a major incident. Those occasions are rare, probably happening 3-4 times a year.
However, I do keep myself available most of the weekends when I am home because everybody else is out working or doing family stuff. That would have to be my down time. I work on Squad record keeping to try and bring us into the 20th century, supply orders, coaching and consoling members who need support, and repairing gear that a lot of people throw out because ‘it’s broke’. I also clean and make sure my gear is up to snuff and ready to go. I am never happy with how I set “my stuff” up and am constantly fiddle-farting around with it. Lastly, I think. Actually, I think a lot while I am doing all that other stuff.
I think about how to make improvements, how to make people happier and better in their jobs, and how to make our lives easier and safer. I believe thinking is way underrated in today’s society. I think about our last call and what went right and where I could have done better, then I prepare a plan for the next similar call. You see, I am not a real quick thinker on my feet, so I find that having a pre-programmed response to various incident types and locations helps me function more efficiently and safely. I believe most good EMS and Fire folks do this, or they should.
In the volunteer world there is little difference between down time and off time. I define off time as those periods when you cannot respond, such as your child’s wedding, a special anniversary, when you’ve had ‘adult beverages’, or when you are ill. The rest of the clock is fair game.
Speaking of which, I have to go clean my bunkers of all that crap from the last call. See you on the street.

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