Monday, December 7, 2009

Volunteering and Public Image

In my efforts to blog more and keep my writing/media skills sharp I will now tell you all what I did over the weekend.

Back in late July when I had absolutely no job prospects on the horizon I signed up for the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B) class at St. Louis Community College- Wildwood campus. I was way beyond burned out from the the rigors of job hunting in a shit economy and job market, I was depressed beyond belief from the lack of income and the pathletic lifestyle that follows. I simply needed something to do and stimulate my brain. I was enjoying being a volunteer firefighter, so getting my EMT license was the next logical step.

Fastforward 20 weeks or so and I have my final tonight. St. Louis had so much going this weekend. A young professionals happy hour Friday in Soulard, a tacky Christmas sweater bar crawl on Morganford Saturday afternoon. It could have been a very social weekend, but I needed to study. The EMT class is based on a national curriculum developed by the Department of Transportation. You must score above a 75% on every exam. You can retake up to 3 exams, but the final is one and done. I've done well in the class thus far, but there's a ton of content to go over.

Saturday morning I pittled around the house before I decided the only way I was going to get any quality studying done was if I went somewhere else. So I called in and reported to a Eureka Firehouse to put in some volunteer hours. I have a streak of doing well on exams where I spent most of my study time at a firehouse. I guess I just have a better mindset there or something. Plus I figured I devoted this much time and effort to the class I better finish what I started and get my license.

I report to Eureka Firehouse 2 with "C" Shift. I get about 2 hours of solid study time before the captain says it's time to go. We were scheduled to make an appearance to the "Toys for Tots" Toy drive at the Eureka Wal-Mart as part of our public image efforts. Eureka Fire District is big on public image. Any thing they can think of to make us look better in the public's eye, they'll do. Which isn't a bad thing. Afterall, it's the public who pay the taxes which support public services like Fire/EMS.

So we staged the trucks in the parking lot and when all personnel were ready, we rolled up to the front of Wal-Mart with lights and sirens where Santa Claus jumped off our ladder truck to dump a bunch of toys into the box being attended by two U.S. Marines in dress uniforms. Yes, it's cheesy but kids and the parents eat that stuff up. It's the kind of stuff smaller districts have to do to get the money they need for equipment and supplies. The movies only highlight big city departments.

So if you were one of those folks who thought the fire service was all run n' gun, think again.

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