Maddog Barks!

We're out on the road in the ambulance when we get called to a fire. Helga is driving and Tinkerbell is in the front seat. I'm precepting Tinkerbell so she gets to ride up front and do everything. I just observe and intervene when she goes awry. She's pretty competent and, during our post-incident critiques, shows that she's thinking more about the patients and medical stuff than most firefighers.

Tinkerbell is a firefighter who's transferred from another station. She's an EMT-B but our station is requiring all Firefighters to become qualified on the ambulance before being allowed to ride the fire engines. Good policy I say.

Helga is a real character. She's an EMT-B and a driver for the ambulance. She's overweight, has bad skin and is terminally socially awkward. She laughs nervously and snorts after every sentence and is extremely uncomfortable with silence. This means that she's always talking. She is very sweet, though and does not have a single malicious bone in her body. She's also infinitely selfless. I don't mind her quirks at all.

We get a call to report to a house fire as a back up BLS (Basic Life Support) unit. Since we're nearby when the call comes, we actually get there first. We pull in the street where the fire is to see a scene of apparent chaos: Fire trucks, hoses, personnel and equipment are scattered all over the area and flames are shooting out of the second story windows. Awesome! Helga pulls the ambulance into a position thats out of the way but enables us to depart quickly if we get a patient. I hop out, put on my gear and my helmet that identifies me as EMS-only. That way, nobody will expect me to grab a hose and they can find me quickly if needed.

As we're heading down towards the scene to report in with our stretcher and gear, a minivan pulls into the street and starts to pass us.

"Sir, you can't go down there." says Helga to the young driver. The minivan is full of teenagers. And it keeps going.

It starts from my belly and leaps from my mouth like a tiger:


He does. The driver looks like he's been slapped. He's pointing down towards the fire and saying he needs to get to his house. It's obvious that nothing's getting through and obvious that there's a bit of something going on (DUH!)


"..but I..."


"...I need to get..."


At this point I'm barking at him. This is a verbal technique used by drill instructors and I used it a lot when I was in the service. Just beat them with your voice. Never waver, do not have a conversation. Beat them.

It was imperative that the van turn around. I was not going to endanger the driver, his passengers or any of the firefighters on scene by letting him drive right into the middle of a working fire. My face is a scowl comparable to a samurai war mask and I keep barking at him.


He leaves in a hurry.

"Sheesh, Maddog!" Says Tinkerbell.

"Good job!" Says Helga.

I give them my sweetest smile.


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