Monday, November 29, 2010

Things heard on the job

Thanks to the Burned Out Medic for triggering another thought stream in my head. Here are some things I've heard on the job, in random order. Many of these I would prefer to never hear again.
OK folks, as soon as we move Charlie onto the backboard, I'd like to get a little extra help in locating his hand. It's got to be around here somewhere.
 Chief, I think we're going to need a lot more tankers.
RESPONDER #1: OK, it's your call, how do you want to get this guy out?
RESPONDER #2: What are the options?
RESPONDER #1: By Boat, 15 to 30 minutes; By chopper 20 minutes, plus rigging time; By foot, 40 minutes; or by Six-Wheeler and chainsaw, which is enroute now, about 20 minutes.
RESPONDER #2: Let's go with the Six-Wheeler, can we get TWO chainsaws working?
RESPONDER #1: Could you move your left foot?
RESPONDER #2: Why? I'm working here.
RESPONDER #1: You're standing on another body.
RESPONDER #2: Cripes! How many people were in this car?
Chief, have we had any luck identifying the green liquid coming out of this building? It's been and hour since we've been working this fire and it's still flowing out. Some of the crews are getting nauseous.
We can't do the recovery until the investigators get in there and map everything out.
RESPONDER #1: Wow, that's a lot of blood, what do you make it to be, about a liter?
RESPONDER #2: I think it's closer to 2 liters at this point. Ready? One, Two, THREE.......
DISPATCH TO CAR ONE: Chief, we just got in touch with the property owner, he  advises us that there is an unknown quantity of explosives stored in that building.
 RESPONDER : He fell from up THERE? And yet he's conscious?
MAN, That's a BIG hornet's nest!
LINE OFFICER: Ma'am, we're volunteers, just here to help you. We got the water out of your basement, but we aren't qualified to restart your furnace.
DISTRAUGHT TAXPAYER: Yes, you CAN. Now finish the job!
LINE OFFICER: Ma'am, you need to call your Oil company. Your furnace was under 2 feet of water and it will need a lot of work.
LINE OFFICER: Ma'am, at this hour of the morning, and after doing 8 basement pumps, You can HAVE my job.
What do you mean, you can't find the driver? SOMEBODY rolled this truck over!
Hey, doesn't that chimney look like it's leaning away from the house?
FIRST DUE OFFICER TO DISPATCH: We've got at least 7 patients, but we're not done counting yet. Please give me at least 2 more ALS units and a 2nd alarm for EMT's to the scene.
STOP! I think I feel a pulse! Yeah, look at the monitor!
Hey man, you don't look so good.
TAXPAYER: Did you really NEED to bring all these trucks and people?
CHIEF: Yes sir, we do.
 I love this job!
I hate this job!
 Wow, I never thought you could actually crack a fire helmet like that!
DISTRAUGHT TAXPAYER: I want to talk to your Chief!
CHIEF: Ma'am, I AM the Chief.
DISTRAUGHT TAXPAYER: Not YOU, I mean the BIG Chief, let me talk to him.
CHIEF: Ma'am, I may not be very tall, but I am the biggest Chief we have and I am STILL not going to let you back into that house.
Man, you got enough sheet rock on your helmet to build a wall!
I HATE it when my gloves freeze solid.

One thing I've learned on this job is that you will never live long enough to hear it all, or see it all.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Marking Time

Well, it was a year ago today that my first post went up on this blog. With a break of 5 months or so early on, I didn't hold a very consistent pattern. Since May I've hung in there fairly well though. This is about my 95th post since the first one, so on average, I suppose that's not too bad.
 I went back through many of the early posts looking for something I could throw back up as a sort of 'walk down memory lane' I didn't find anything I thought would be worth a second viewing. I guess value (or lack thereof) is in the mind of the reader. From my perspective, all my posts have a one shot value, if that. Your mileage may vary.
 For my own part, I am re-thinking the whole blog thing. There were two simple goals:
1) to provide a personal outlet to relieve some pent up stress., and
2) to impart some information of value to my readers.
 I knew that each post would be one or the other, and seldom both. In reading some old posts, I see a few that have neither purpose served. There are so many GOOD blogs out there to read, that I wonder why anybody would read mine. Perhaps they (you) keep coming back hoping it will get better? I do know, from looking at the stats, that there are a few dedicated folks who come back every time I have a new post, and there are a few who spend quite a bit of time reading through many of my writings for over an hour at a clip. I thank you for that. I'll keep this thing plugging along for those that are regular readers until I figure out how to write a little better. I know that some of 'my regulars' are fellow bloggers whose writings I truly enjoy, and in some cases admire. I also know there are a few regulars who do not have a blog that I am aware of and I don't see any comments from them except for lots of entries in the stat files.
 I do want to hang in there a while to see how this whole 'blog thing' develops. Years ago I was an active participant in several of the EMS forums. When they began to degenerate into a nasty group of critical, unhappy, and in some cases, nasty people, I faded away. So far, the blogosphere has not done that and we have all managed to stay polite. However I do notice some fraying around the edges. Several of the principals on particular blogs who have large readerships have lately taken to aiming some sharp criticism and half hearted, yet very pointed jesting at each other. It's only a matter of time before one of them gets offended and lashes out. I can feel it coming. Stand by for the show, I can see it coming as clearly as I saw some of the non-anonymous bloggers get taken down by the Company they worked for. Too often in our society, smaller minds prevail.
 I will say that this past year of blogging has been interesting in many ways. Having folks read my offerings from all around the world and just about every continent is gratifying, to say the least. Having them come back again is nothing short of amazing to me. Iraq, Thailand, UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Turkey, and Japan are just a few of the countries I have seen in the log. (And there is somebody in Knoxville, Tn who is spending a lot of time reading things here lately. hmmm,) I am still amazed by the listing from Antarctica, that just blew me away. I used to chat with a few of the radio operators down there in my Ham days that would 'winter over'. I know a little about life down there and am amazed that somebody managed to find me. I have almost as many 'regulars' in Canada as I have in the US. I have always regarded our neighbors to the north as the most civilized of the North Americans, so it's nice to see them come read and comment.
 So, all in all, I can say it's been worth the time I've put into this. I can only hope it has been worth your time to read it all. In the coming year I hope to work on my personal relationships with a few of the bloggers I can identify with. If I were a 'career guy' I could easily do this by attending some of the many conferences that all the lucky ones get to go to and meet each other. For me, that doesn't work because of work constraints, vacation time, and finances. I'll keep looking for another way. Perhaps a Skype session or two. That's a new medium for me which I have just begun to explore.
 So if you'll keep reading, I'll keep writing. Lets see if I can do better in 'year two'.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

It's Thanksgiving morning and already I am thankful. I managed to sleep through the entire night. I also managed to go to bed early last night after realizing that I was just too tired to sit in front of the tube. So we managed to get the first appliance fire of the holiday weekend out of the way early last evening and it only interrupted my dinner, which I happily wolfed down in it's luke-warm state after putting the engine back to bed and completeing the paperwork.
 I also managed to sleep a little late, hoping that might improve my state of mind for the day. When I finally got up, I was greeted by a half dozen or more fresh blog posts from those who also had an apparent light evening last night and could put up a holiday offering. This was a nice treat.
 Today, as the Turkey cooks, we'll get ready for the big family thing over at the folks house. We "the kids" are cooking parts of the dinner and trucking it over to the folks house to re-assemble and serve. This allows us to cook at home with our own stuff and not mess up my Mom's kitchen too much. It also saves on the cleanup required. The trick is transporting all this freshly cooked food in a safe and effective manner. Last time, at Easter, doing the same deal, we were banged out for a working structure fire as I was halfway between my home and the Folks. I pulled in the driveway took everything out and laid it on the driveway for my nephew to bring in the house, then took off to play firefighter. I don't wanna do that again.
 This time I'm hoping for a boring day. I am on the 6-6 overnight tonight because everyone else claims to need 'family time'. This will mark the 6th year straight that I have covered Thanksgiving night in some capacity. We get the usual calls, aided by alcohol in many cases. A couple of years back we did an FDGB* with a head lac in a 50-something male. I arrived to find the Chief was holding personnel out of the scene and controlling who went in, which I took as strange and put on my 'scene safety goggles'. The job was routine with a transport for further exam, we handled it BLS. Later I asked the Chief about all the scene control nonsense. It was then that I found out I was in the home of a very famous Rock Band that had assembled the entire band with families for a Special Thanksgiving. The Chief wanted to respect their privacy. I guess their secret was safe with me as I had no idea who they were but do remember hearing some of their songs on the radio over the years. It was a really nice house though with a 25 foot long banquet table set out like something in a magazine. Apparently, we arrived just as they were about to sit for dinner.
 Let's see what we get this year. I'm hoping for nothing so we can keep everybody in quarters or at home with their families.
 I'm also wishing the same for all the readers out there, but when the tones drop, remember to be extra careful because of the motoring public on the roads who may not be paying attention.

(*FDGB = Fall Down, Go Boom)

Monday, November 22, 2010


 We all know that the average life span of an EMS worker is 5 years. It's a tough job. Unlike many, I knew this going in. I figured, like most probably do, that I was not average and would be able to handle it. In one way, I was correct, but I never saw the other side of it coming.
 This evening when I returned home from my paying job I received an email which included a resignation from a member of 28 years. I read it twice. I had (have) no idea what to do about it. I am numb to her pain that drove her to quit. I can't handle anymore of the politics and bullshit.
 I can handle the bullshit calls, being called out at 3am for a toothache ("it really hurts a LOT"), the off-hours jobs that come in bunches like being banged out at 3 am for 3 days in a row, the stacked up calls that have us responding from the hospital after dropping off one patient, just to go grab another. I can handle the disrupted family events that I leave in haste to tend to a fire or EMS call. I can handle all of that stuff, but the leadership stuff has just fried me.
 I decided last year to 'not run' for the Captain's job anymore, but I was asked by too many folks to do another year. As there were no good candidates, I decided to do one more year for the 'good of the company'. That was the wrong reason and I know that now. The company has done fine, but I have had to fight with myself to do a proper job all year now. I need some time off and have for longer than I realized.
 Like everybody else in this job, I have had my ups and downs. We all should realize they are temporary. You get the bad call that you can't shake for a while, you get the ugly personal attack or conflict. That happens and time usually helps you work things out. However, over time, things can build up, and I think that is what is happening to me. I have a fair amount of stress at my paying job, and when I get phone calls at work regarding EMS business, it adds to the stress, especially if I explain to the caller that I am in a meeting and can't talk, but will call them back when I'm free. They get pissy, and I get pissed off. They expect me to be available, and I expect a little respect. Some resentment lingers.
 I realize today that I have been fighting off a deep seated and lingering deppresion for a while now, probably 6 months. I don't exercise like I used to, don't have much of an appetite, but my weight stays a bit too high for a tall skinny guy. I sit on the couch way too much for a guy that used to always be 'into something', and worst of all I have to force myself to get up and do the things that need to get done. I am generally disgusted with myself.
 The only thing that gets me moving is when the tones drop. Even then, I make my way to the job or the station and do what needs to be done, but there is very little 'hitch in my giddy-up'. (For readers in other parts of the globe, that means I don't show much enthusiasm.) I'm concerned that if I slip further, I might actually become a liability to myself and others because I am not alert and thinking.
 Every day I say to myself that this will be the day I head into the weight room and get back to work. But at the end of the day nothing has changed.
 I know I will get through this because I have done it before. It just takes time to work through it. Once I turn over the Captain's badge, I know a huge weight will lift from my shoulders. I also know that I can't blame all my 'issues' on the Department and I have to work on some of the other aspects of my life.
 Still, I can't help but wonder how much easier it would be for everyone if people would just treat each other with respect. This job is tough enough without all the bullshit that some folks feel compelled to generate.

(Postscript: I began this post over a week ago and it took 4 attempts over that week to come up with something I could put up here. Two days after I started it, the new subject came out for the Handover, go figger. I kept at it because I thought getting it out there might help me clear my head. Thanks for listening.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Peak of the Mountain

Hey, Y'all check his post out, it's a wonderful piece of writing representing a singular milestone in a Special person's life. I'll say no more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What are the chances?

It's four AM on the morning of another dark and drizzly weekday. As he crunches across the road through scattered broken glass, plastic, and crumpled auto parts, he watches the second ambulance carefully pick it's way out of the scene and onto the road to the hospital. He instinctively looks in the opposite direction to check for traffic that might intercept the ambulance, then he chuckles to himself.
 There is NOBODY on the road. This accident took place at a rural intersection of a backroad and the
'four-lane' which, although controlled by a traffic light, sees no traffic at this time of day. Which makes him  wonder: Why, at this hour of the day, were the conditions right for a high speed, two-car t-bone accident? Two people headed for the hospital on backboards with serious injuries and requiring some extrication work, for what?
 What could have put one driver in such a rush with NO other cars on the road except for a single delivery van? The night was dark and foggy but with good visibility and moving headlights would stand out like a bonfire.
 What are the chances of these two cars meeting at that precise instant? 45 minutes on scene cutting cars, clearing debris, packaging patients and in that whole time 4 vehicles came through. In another hour or two there would be a steady flow as people headed to work and school, but for now, there was nobody.
 What are the chances?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yeah it IS Magic

Lt. Morse had a nice post up the other day called Magic and anyone who plays this game knows that what he says is an irrefutable truth. He writes of that moment on a serious call when it all comes together: the training, the teamwork, the timing, and the hundreds of hours of preparation for that moment in time. The politics, conflicts, and problems all fade from existence, and it is all about the patient and getting the job done. It is truly an exceptional experience that, to my mind, can not be replicated anywhere else except perhaps in the military.
 I've mentioned that I teach and we have just begun the season for our 'team'. For me, this is a big responsibility and I treat my students like a patient, in that I am providing a service that must be accomplished properly and effectively. I hold myself to a higher standard than I can usually attain. Each session I find something I could have done better, made clearer, or presented in a better manner. I know the members of the class are pretty smart and get what I am telling them. They all have varying levels of experience, many of which exceed mine. I also realize that I have precious little time to deliver the message and have to do it well to keep their interest, make their time well spent, and hopefully impart some new knowledge.
 As I said, I am rarely satisfied with my performance because I stumble over a sentence or thought somewhere during the session. I always ask the other instructors for their criticisms, and during the break I also ask some of the students what they thought of the session. It makes me better and more importantly it makes the class better for the next batch of students.
 The other night I gave a class on a subject which one of the other instructors has done for years, yet I had never done. During the session I kept glancing over at 'the boss', our lead instructor and a fellow that I have been trying to emulate for years. He has that smooth natural delivery with a sense of humor that I can never master. He always has the class chuckling and he always gets his message across. What I saw on his face didn't tell me that I was doing very good. I kept pushing a little harder and eventually got through it. When I finished, I felt I had done very well on the subject matter and could not think of any goofs that I made. 'The Boss' came over and I asked him what he thought. "You slammed that one out of the park, added some stuff I never thought of. We should get you to do that one more often." Then he added a couple of thoughts on refinements, but it was the first time I saw him smile in surprise. Kind of like Magic for me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


 In a couple of weeks it will be a year since I began this blog. Although there was a large blank spot between December and May with no posts, I have kept up some fairly regular posting, and this post should be around #89. At this point I am still not sure why I am doing this or where it is going. Obviously my writing habits have seen all sorts of changes as I try new things and see how each style affects me or elicits a response from the reader. It has been interesting. I also cannot overlook the therapeutic effects of allowing me to vent from time to time. Putting it 'out there' and leaving it lie has had some benefits for me, and therefore, those around me as I am not as grumpy as I might be otherwise.
 That 6 month blank spot back last winter can be attributed to 2 things: 1) I was going through a rough patch over a patient/friend/co-worker and nothing "creative" was coming to mind during that period (you all read about in the posts in December & May), and 2) It was my 'busy season', although I didn't realize that until this morning.
 I am busy all the time. I volunteer to help out with a lot of stuff and rarely turn anyone down when they need my help. But in the late fall and through to the spring I also join a group of instructors who visit Departments all over the area to bring them their annual OSHA 8 hour Refresher training. We do this either in 2 nights of 4 hours each, or a single day. Sometimes it is like having a second full time job without the burden of a paycheck.
 I enjoy teaching. It is a lot like patient care in that you have a responsibility to deliver a service that meets a high standard, and many times YOU are the only one who knows if you did a proper job. Each year I work on a new 1 hour program segment to keep it totally fresh. For the last several years I have had some stuff that has brought very positive feedback. Each year it gets harder, and each year is completely different from the previous years. This year's session is from a completely different direction and when I came up with the idea, I was hesitant to broach it to the teaching team for review. They looked it over, shrugged their collective shoulders and said, "Well, lets give it a try, this one is all about how you deliver it." With that in mind, I gave the pilot delivery a couple of weeks ago.

 We had some technical issues with the projector which broke the flow a little bit, but it came off pretty much as planned. I didn't get  a lot of feedback from the students as I have in the past, but I could also see that I had them thinking, which is always the goal. The subject matter is as serious as it can get and I was glad to see that nobody was dozing off. I got good participation from the class with questions and comments, and for me that was a key sign. We rolled this session out at a Department that I always have a hard time with. The group is a fine bunch of people, but they never really participate in the sessions, they just want it over. This time was different and I got the feeling that I really got through by making a direct connection between the subject we were discussing and the types of jobs they have done in the past. It pays to know your audience.
 Anyway, as I enter my busy season and add 2 nights of teaching a week to my schedule of 2 company meetings a month, a department meeting, officers meeting, drills, duty days, and a handful of other things, please don't be surprised if my posting drops off. I'll try to do better than last year, but I can't make any promises. I am hoping that after the end of the year, when I turn my Officer's seat over to someone else, things might ease up a bit.
 If you don't see me posting as much, just drop me a comment. I don't get many of those and it will probably wake me up. Of course you can always go read some of the many, many better blogs out there. I have close to 50 in my reading list these days and you should too. There is a lot to learn and think about out there. You really shouldn't miss my pitiful contributions too much. Let's just take it a week at a time.
 Be well, Stay safe,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another day....... concluded

 He's driving west headed back to town and back to his world. Eight hours on the mountain was all he could spare on such short notice. The search, for him, was tedious and fruitless, as it usually is.
 He tried to enjoy the rare opportunity to be out in the daylight on a perfect, clear, crisp, sunny, Fall day. Just as he began to enjoy some success in his daydream, the cell phone rang. He pulled it off his belt, saw the name on the screen and slid off the road onto the shoulder. He tapped the 'answer' button on the phone and said "Hi Chief! What's up?" The voice on the other end was concise: "We found him, he was mostly naked, cold, and fairly stiff. He almost made it back home and he was found in an area that was searched yesterday. Probably got back there last night. Just thought you'd want to know. Thanks for you help today." He frowned, "Thanks for the call Chief, tell the crew to be careful coming off the mountain, it's pretty steep up there. I'll see you tonight. Thanks for the call."
 He hung up and pulled back on the road with his thoughts. He passed through town and pulled into his fire station and went in to quickly change into his 'business casual' clothing. He didn't want anyone at the job to suspect that his time off for 'personal business' was spent in the woods. He jumped back in the truck and headed into his paying job to try and be on time for his meeting and the phone conferences that were scheduled for the afternoon. For him, the only difficulty in making the transition was avoiding the casual conversations going on everywhere about the lost person and all the resources that were coming into the county from all over the state to join the search.
 He always found the transition from emergency scene to conference room a difficult one. Today was just another one of those days.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just Another Day

 The alarm buzzes at 5AM. An hour before the usual time. He needs not awake, as he has been lying there waiting for the alarm to sound. He has spent most of the night thinking about the lost person on the mountain who, if still alive, will have survived 3 nights in freezing temperatures with little clothing and no supplies, food, or equipment. He rises, pulls on his wool socks, under armor, duty pants, and a wool hunting shirt. Not his normal garb when heading out for a detail.
 He pads to the kitchen, fills his coffee cup, then his thermos, and grabs his grub bag from the fridge. The same grub bag he has taken on countless hikes and hunting trips in these very same mountains. He descends the stairs into the den and puts on the parka shell he has worn for many miles over the years and has shielded him in rainstorms, blizzards, hail storms and cold, windy, sunny days. The smell brings back numerous pleasant memories. It has been too long since he's has need to wear it, he thinks. He makes a mental note to get out on a hike soon.
 Stuffing the thermos and grub bag into his pack he checks again to make sure his wool gloves and hat are in the bag. He knows the weather this time of year can have you in all wool in the morning, and a t-shirt in the afternoon, and back to all wool the minute the sun falls behind the mountain.
 Fourty years of heading out into the woods has taught him to scan the room carefully before leaving to make sure he hasn't forgotten a critical piece of gear or clothing. He sees the snowshoes, hiking poles, ice axes, crampons, rifles, fishing poles and sees nothing he is lacking.
 He walks out the door and into the cold morning air covered by a black, star filled sky. As he climbs into the truck for the 30 mile drive to the staging area, he thinks about the day's search that lies ahead. Before he leaves home, he already knows in his heart how it will end. He turns the key and whispers a prayer that just this one time, he might be wrong.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let me ask this a different way...

OK, I ended my last post by asking for experience and opinions. As usual, I didn't get much. OK, we drew a blank. I'm used to that and it's OK, really. (No really, I will get over it, honest.)
 But in the case of the aforementioned question I really am asking all 6 of my readers what you think (of course I am joking, I know there are 10 of you out there). If you are not an Officer, then tell me what you expect from your Officers. How much support do you expect from them? How many of your issues (big and small) do you handle, or at least attempt to handle on your own? At what point do you involve and Officer? At what point would you think that your Officer let you down or was not properly concerned with your problem(s)?
 Some of the things I put up here, I would like to think have helped at least a couple of readers. This is my turn to ask for input. I could really use some because I suck on the social touchy-feely stuff and know I will never be good at it. I'm looking for help here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yours Truly, the Social Worker

 There are a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed onto this job. Being a Captain in an EMS Squad was, I knew, a big undertaking. I thought I was prepared, and mostly, I was. By most accounts, I do a pretty fair job, but even after 4 years as an Officer, I am still getting surprised.
 This week I received a scathing email from one of my newer members. Without getting into details, let me just say that this email was very critical of the way I treated this individual member, which was mostly as a child because the member is in his/her mid-twenties. The person was hurt, and disheartened to the point that I suspected he/she would just quit. I've seen it before, too many times. The problem here was that the email, actually a series of emails, indicated a long list of offenses on my part as well as many other folks wherein the person was taken to task and talked down to. The rage and hurt in the writing was clear and stunning.
 The first email got me so upset that I dropped my plans for the evening and replied immediately to calm this person down and assure him/her that we needed to speak in person and work this out. I gave all assurances that indeed we had no perception that this person was a child and in fact the opposite was true. This person was a very valuable asset and I listed the reasons why. Obviously there was a misunderstanding and I planned on correcting it. The next day, I contacted one of my junior officers to inform and sensitize him to the situation as well as seek his counsel because of his long experience managing people.
 Long story short: It got worse before it got better, but after 2 hours on the phone with the member we were 'all good'. I learned many things about this members perceptions, how I am perceived by some members, and how I can be an idiot at times. The member learned some things about effective communications and making one's needs understood, as well as some of the things that the Captain is concerned with, about which this member had not really fully considered. (He/she had no idea how dangerous this job can be and the fact that I have been involved in some really horrible things including LODD's and that I try to protect new members from this until they demonstrate a complete understanding.) We also agreed that 'new member' does not mean 'young member' and when he/she realized that I do the same thing with all 'new members' regardless of age, most of the objections faded away.
 It all worked out well and we have a stronger relationship now. I would hate to have lost this member because the contribution that he/she makes is considerable, but more important, this person is exceptional and will excel in what ever course life takes her/him on. I'd very much like to be this person's friend during that ride and help her/him if I can. Ironically, early in the phone conversation while the member was still in the stage of a screaming rant at me, she/he kept interjecting comments like 'look, don't get me wrong, you are by FAR the best Officer in the Department and you have taught me everything I know. You have never given me bad information. You always took time for me when I needed it. You made yourself available 24/7, BUT....'
 After I made followup calls on that issue, I received a call from another member confessing an unfortunate run in with the legal system earlier in the week. I had read about it in the 'police beat' column of the paper. Although the issue is minor from a social/community standpoint, it brings expensive court fees, lawyers, and possible loss of employment because of security issues. She/he is sick and remorseful over it. My confidence in this member is not diminished in any way. It's the type of offense that could happen to almost anyone and the public humiliation is probably the worst part of it because it affects one's family and friends the most. The member wanted to know how this would affect their activity in the Department. I explained that we have dealt with this before and had a standard procedure. There was one restriction that the member could no longer perform, but all other duties remained in effect pending the outcome of the court proceedings. It's a fair system although some of our members who think themselves above any issues like this believe the offending member should be cast aside like a rotten egg. Of course many of these folks have made mistakes in their own pasts, they just don't realize we know about it. If we threw out every member that had ever been arrested in their life or made a mistake in the past, I believe we would have a hard time staffing a first due fire response.
So I calmed the member down, assured them it is an administrative proceedure and there will be due process IF it is required. Most likely it would not be required.

 At some point I went from being an Officer to being a Social Worker. I don't know how that happened, but the emotional drain of keeping 35 people happy and working together is really wearing me out. I'd really like to know how other volunteer Officers deal with this stuff. How much do you get involved? Where do you draw the line? At some point do you want to shut off the phone and crawl under a blanket? In all honesty, sometimes I think I go too far. I'd like to know what others think.