Keeping Spirits Alive
Fans of the hit TV series Emergency! come out of the woodwork to express their appreciation for the extensive coverage by JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P, of the re-dedication ceremony of the famed Engine 51 in Los Angeles (“Emergency! ‘51 in Quarters’: Historic event a huge success as engine & squad 51 meet again,” JEMS.com). Readers reflect on how this program continues to live on in their current careers in EMS. And a provider from Norway thanks the EMS community for the support he received during the aftermath of a tragic terrorist bombing (“Several Injured in Norway Terror Bombing,” JEMS.com).
I started my career in EMS in the ’70s and am now the training coordinator at a 9-1-1 service. I was so lucky to hear Randy Mantooth give one of the best speeches about the history of EMS and the history of the television program. He stayed around for a long time, signing autographs and taking donations for the Los Angeles Fire Department. We in EMS should be thankful for people who still believe in what we do and truly care for our well-being—like Randy Mantooth does. He has my highest regards as one of the truest Hollywood icons who has a love for EMS.
Emergency! had a powerful influence on the direction of my life. Because of this program, I fell in love with the idea of helping others in their time of need. I’ve been involved in EMS for the past 23-plus years, and I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without the inspiration of Emergency! I’m still a paramedic today, and yes, I still pop the tops off D-50. And every time I do, I think about Johnny and Roy.
I was a young volunteer firefighter many eons ago (or so it seems). My dad was on the fire brigade at the chemical plant where he worked. I went to EMT school and then took a paramedic class to be like Johnny and Roy from Emergency! I decided then and there that being involved in EMS was what I wanted to do. Almost 31 years later, I still am involved. Jim Page, Jack Webb, Randy Mantooth, Kevin, Mike and the entire cast put me here, and I haven’t looked back.
I too must admit that I was intrigued to look into becoming a dispatcher after watching and listening to Sam Lanier, the dispatcher in the series. I became a dispatcher, and now, I have 33 years under my belt. When I started, we had three radio channels; today we have more than 40.
My career path has been good to me and has allowed me to meet many good people—and all because of a television program. Who would’ve ever thought what an influence a TV series would have on people internationally. Great article. Thanks for keeping the spirit of the show alive.
Words of Encouragement
It warms your heart when colleagues and friends from around the world remember you in times like this. Events like these take a toll on the crews, so our focus is to make sure all our crews come through this. The reaction we’re getting from the public really warms our hearts; it helps a lot.
We’ll come through this. The evaluation that has been completed, and so far shows we did a good job. But still, there’s always something to learn, so we can be better next time. When something like this happens, you have to take every advantage to learn from it. It feels good to know somebody out there cares. JEMS
This article originally appeared in September 2011 JEMS as “Letters.”
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