If it's one thing I've learned as an emergency services worker is that no two calls are ever alike. They may be similar in nature, but the situation and the nuances are far from identical. With fire, variances can depend on the building structure, the adjacent exposures, the fire load, the source of ignition, or the way the wind is blowing. Depending on the conditions, what is the beginning of a fire can either turn into a massive explosion, or simply self-extinguish. This unpredictability is what makes me passionate about my work and it keeps me on my toes. To me, every shift is like Christmas with the excited anticipation of what the day might bring.
If it's another thing I've learned as an emergency services worker is that calls can range from the traditional to the uhm...... not-so-traditional. Typically people call 911 because of fire, car accidents, major medical incidents, and the like. But we also get 911 calls that no matter how much training we've had, leave us gobsmacked. More than once we've been caught by surprise. Last night we responded to a 911 emergency medical call. Before we even entered the unit, we could hear a man screaming in pain, so we braced for the worst because judging by the agonizing groans, we figured he was pinned under something or had sliced a finger off.
Turns out the fellow called 911 because he was having difficulty passing a poop. Because fire trucks aren't readily stocked with prune juice and bran muffins, we did what we could: we took his pulse and blood pressure and made him as comfortable as possible whilst crammed together in the bathroom. And then we waited. And waited... for this fella's jackpot while hoping that we weren't missing out on a fire somewhere. I know my crew shouted a collective silent Hallelujah when the ambulance finally arrived and took over the call because none of us wanted to stick around to see if the story had a happy ending. Some things are just better left not knowing.