Twas the night before Christmas, and we enjoyed some rare leisure,
Not a call was being dispatched, not even a petit mal seizure.
Our backup crew was nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of post-duty rum and cokes danced in their heads.
My partner up front, and I in the back,
Had just settled down for a brief winter's nap.
When out on the avenue arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the squad bench to see what was the matter.
The sound of giant skids scraped across metal roofs,
Caused me to glance up and see eight sets of hoofs.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a massive sleigh, a fat man and eight tiny reindeer.
With the little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
But something was wrong, I could tell right away,
'Cause the chubby old guy had lost control of his sleigh.
Whoa, Dasher! Whoa, Dancer! Whoa, Prancer and Vixen!
Get control, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen!
They slid off the roof, falling 30 feet in a flash,
With the same kind of impact as a high-speed car crash.
Unbelted on impact and thrown from the sled,
My first thought was that St. Nick was gonna be dead.
As I bent over his body and moved bloody hair on his head,
I uncovered the type of fracture my partner and I dread.
The unsecured red sack of toys in Santa's sled,
Had flown forward on impact and cracked open his head.
My first reaction was that he was a patient to be flown,
To the trauma center located on the far side of town.
When I yelled to the IC to send me a bird,
He looked back at me like I had said a bad word.
The frown on his face told me that my EMS mentor,
Disagreed with my request to fly to the center.
I walked quickly over to the chief to discuss,
Why my air request seemed to be creating a fuss.
With a few well-chosen words, he asked me to consider,
In which vehicle I thought my patient would do better.
"You can use a ground rig that can leave right away,
Or wait on scene for a chopper that will result in delay."
The look on my face must have said I wasn't aware
Why there_d be a delay if I sent the old guy by air.
"If he was trapped in the wreckage, a different story I'd say,
But he's free, in bad shape and can't tolerate delay."
"If you leave now by ground you'll arrive in a quarter hour,
And I'll bet you'll get there before the bird gets to full power."
"When time, distance and speed matter, choppers are the key,
But only adding launch time, flight distance and logistics sell me."
He summed up his message in the form of a rhyme:
"You see, friend of mine, it's not about speed -- it's all about time."
As I sent Santa out by ground and not air,
I realized my mentor was no longer there.
But I heard him chuckle as he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" --JEMS
Adapted from "The Night Before Christmas"
by Major Henry Livingston Jr. (1748Ï1828)