As much as I love being behind the camera, I hate being in front of it just as much. Add a job that had intense personal feelings and you have this photo.
It is one of a very few self portraits that I have shot and published. It was done at a time and place that affected me intensely. It shows a part of me that no one except my wife has ever seen.
I got into EMS late in life, first as a First Responder then as an EMT. I seriously considered becoming a paramedic but at age 56 decided it was a career for younger people.
In May of 2017 I along with a few others were terminated from our jobs with a private EMS company for what we were told was financial reasons. I had been with the company for just over five years. For four of those years I was assigned to a post with myself and a local volunteer. While the call volume was low the stress was high.
The EMS quarters were in an old nursing home that was no longer being used. For part of the time there were others in my part of the building and for the last couple of years I was the only person.
In EMS when you are covering 911 calls, like I was, you have a maximum amount of time to get to the ambulance and go “in route” to the call. In Kansas that is four minutes and 59 seconds. For 36 to occasionally 96 hours a week I was tied to being “in route” in less than five minutes.
In addition to the stress of isolation and always being ready, the company owner at times left me with no partner. If a local volunteer wasn’t available and the back up crew got a transfer I was left alone to respond to calls, the closest help was almost 30 minutes away. To make life more interesting I wasn’t told when I had no immediate back up.
They company owner gambled and got lucky, there were no serious calls when I had no back up. I wasn’t so lucky, the stress and isolation still haunt me and probably will for awhile to come.
Because of this and some fundamental issues with EMS in general I decide to get out. Although I loved it almost as much as photography, I had to leave, those in EMS will understand.
This was the room I stayed in while on duty.
To everyone in EMS, law enforcement and fire, be safe.
Yikes, Cort. I had no idea. Really incomprehensible that an EMT would be expected to respond alone. What if you encountered an extremely obese person who needed to be moved? Or any other physically demanding task?