28 January 2008


So how do I, as an ambulance worker, end up on the evening news? The two most recent cases were a car accident where one patient was severely injured and trapped in the vehicle for an extended period of time (giving the news crews time to get there) and a fire that sounded bigger than it was where the news crew happened to be in the right (or wrong) place at the appropriate time. For whatever reason, our local news LOVES to have footage of EMS or fire departments in action. Maybe it is the sense of importance and tragedy, but I tend to think it is because they don't show the patients and they want to have something interesting which makes the whole event seem exciting. Mostly, we avoid the cameras by being as quick to get the patients off scene as possible. No faster than is appropriate for the patient, but hopefully faster than the cameras show up.

The crews at my station hate being on the news. Firstly, it makes everybody harass you because they never fail to use that 3 seconds of footage where you scratched your butt or stood there looking stunned and ridiculous. Secondly, it gives your supervisors and higher management the chance to see you on scene in a way you may not have been expecting. Not a big deal for me as I wear my ugly neon green reflective coat and non-latex gloves all the time and I try to abide by safety regulations, but there are always folks who assume that nobody is going to see them on scene and that they will get away with doing something they shouldn't be doing. Seeing yourself on the nightly news quickly cures you of that illusion. Heck, in a state as small as NH, just talking to people should cure you of that illusion because there is always somebody around who saw you at XYZ place or with Mrs. So-and-so on your stretcher and wants to know all the dirty details.

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