New York City EMTs and paramedics know the gritty streets just as well as any gang member. Therein lies the premise of "Call 911," a recruitment video masquerading as a gangsta rap clip by Fire Department of New York paramedics Farooq Muhammad and Chris Marquart, which debuted to high acclaim during an FDNY EMS Week competition.
"This is my life, I'm a paramedic, on the job hard when life getting' hectic," raps Muhammad from an NYC roof while images of critical calls flash across the screen.
The rap scene is an apt, if unlikely, comparison for EMS -- a profession in which providers might spend their days on the streets dodging bullets but struggle for respect and validation within the health-care industry. Take that, plus quality production, a catchy chorus and the fact that Muhammad is a talented rapper, and "Call 911" becomes a recruitment tool with legs.
As for how the idea came to life, FDNY Chief John Peruggia says it was simple.
"Paramedic Mohammed had this idea and came to the FDNY," he said. "We approved the script and lyrics and gave him some support to allow for him to film as planned. He and his partner did all of the pre- and post-production, including the filming."
The video aired in front of several hundred FDNY members, members of the public, the fire commissioner, and even EMS hero and "Emergency!" actor Randolph Mantooth.
"The crowd was very excited about the video, and it has been well received by the department and its members," said Peruggia.
Lauren Coartney is an associate editor for JEMS and JEMS.com. She joined Elsevier Public Safety in April 2008 and has a BA in Literature from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining JEMS,she was a senior writer for print and online publications at San Diego State University. View her profile onJEMS ConnectorLinkedIn.