In the village fire department, we're all volunteers. We call ALS from the park as needed, but really it's a handful of EMT's and EMR's that keep things going. An unusually well-oiled machine perfected through years, sometimes decades of working together.
We all have day jobs. Some have more than one.
But when the pager tones us out, we go. Sometimes 3, 4 EMS runs a day. Each trip to the hospital takes a minimum of 3 hours.
I respond when I can, but with the single-lane road choked with tourists it can be 25 minutes 'till I'm on scene. Clear road at night? I can make it in 12.
But the others are already there. On scene, figuring out how to get the patient out. Taking history, vitals. Packaging, moving. They are pros at this.
Our small town swells with tourists in the summer. And the seasonal help that goes along with tourism. Cooks, river raft guides, bartenders, housekeepers. Every bed in town is full.
10 motels, dozens of vacation rentals, 8 bars, 20 restaurants, 3 gas stations, a couple grocery stores.
And one little fire station.
Two dozen volunteers with pagers and radios, ready to roll when needed.