What a world we live in. I wonder if the old firefighter’s back in the day could picture us today! Did you ever fantasize as a kid growing up role playing being a firefighter or emt or paramedic? Maybe you got excited whenever you heard lights and sirens when you were in your car. Do you really have the motivation and inspiration to help others in a time of need when nobody else can help? Well, I do have a calling for you: The Fire Service. Now, I’ll be honest, for myself the first thing for myself was not exactly getting into the fire service, however I did want to help people. Being a 2nd generation Iranian-Swiss your homeogenesis gene (i.e. parents) tell you to follow one of three paths ( doctor, lawyer, engineer) without any deviation. So believe it or not, it was quite a shock for my parents to tell them the day that I went to become a firefighter. My route was not very typical. I took courses in fire science at Oakton Community College. I enrolled to become a Emergency Medical Technician – Basic. From there, I started to test for larger municipalities (Glenview, Northbrook, Wilmette, Skokie, Niles, Evanston, Lombard, Addison, Highwood, Lincolnshire-Riverwoods, and Chicago). Let me tell you it was not easy, showing up to a room of 500+ candidates, or even 1000’s+ people all trying to take a written examination. I worked at Glenbrook Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit as a secretary and patient care tech. I also worked at private ambulance industry “Medical Express Ambulance Service”, and I knew I had to move on into paramedic school. So I got accepted into Highland Park Paramedic Program, and got a opportunity to do my paramedic ambulance internship with Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Protection District. At the time, all I wanted was to get closer to some action, and get some sweet trauma so I could go my route for medical school (remember, the part I said Iranians have to become a doctors). During my internship I met a great mentor, his name was firefighter/paramedic Brad Hytoff. I remember we were discussing about my ride time, and he was like… “Hey kid, so you want to be like really involved whenever we go to these auto accidents so your gonna need some bunker gear, and a helmet, and gloves.” And being typical me, I was totally in agreement, because I wanted be that bad-ass paramedic inside the wreck ya know “starting a 14 Gauge IV needle upside down in zero darkness on helpless person” (my fantasy world kicking into high gear). Brad would go on and tell me, “Ya know, and when we get a fire run, the ambulance is going to take the Ladder Truck, so you can grab your bunker gear and go on the ladder truck.” My eye’s perked up and dilated instantly. Now, if you could imagine this massive thing was a total beauty, long, sleeked, waxed and shiny BIG RED FIRE TRUCK. Needless to say besides having a total blast that summer and learning the “brotherhood” of what it meant to come in day in and day out as a firefighter and paramedic. I immediately changed my career path, out went trauma surgeon, and in went into Firefighter/Paramedic. I was told at the time, hey you should go to Northbrook Fire Department, and I started auditing the drills for the paid on call firefighters of the Northbrook Fire Department. After a bit of time of actively participating, I got accepted into Arlington Heights Fire Academy sponsored as a paid-on-call firefighter/paramedic with Northbrook Fire Department.
Wow, so okay, here I am at last a Firefighter/Paramedic ready to signup for whichever city or town that wants me! Who wants me….um, HEY! HELLO I’m a FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC! Tune in to the next blog, how I still had to work on me to get to a full time career firefighter/paramedic.