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The 1970’s would be a decade of change
in reality as well as movie scripts.  When I
became a Baltimore City police officer in
1971, my first assignment was walking a
foot post on E. North Avenue.  I quickly
located the Firehouse at North Avenue
and Bond Street where Engine 19 and
Ambo #3 were assigned.  Over the next
twenty years I’d see a lot of the
firefighters and paramedics from that
house.  During the 70’s and 80’s, Engine
19 and Ambo #3 frequently held the title
of being the busiest Engine and
Ambulance in the entire city.

When you become a police officer, you’re
going to learn that a special relationship
exists between police officers and
paramedics.  You’ll be sitting in your car
writing a report when a call comes over
your radio to “assist the medics” at
location so and so.  You’ll drop whatever
you’re doing and you’ll speed to that
location just as you would if a fellow
police officer were calling for help.  Such
calls won’t be that frequent for
firefighters.  After all, people don’t tend
to mess that much with a bunch of guys
armed with axes and long poles with
steel hooks on the ends.  However,
paramedics are a different story.  
Paramedics frequently find themselves in
hostile situations and environments
armed only with their goodwill.  

I can’t begin to count the number of
times I called for paramedics to assist
victims of shootings, stabbings, beatings
and every other form of emergency
medical need.  I vividly remember when
the expertise of paramedics was coming
of age when the back of that ambulance
became a mini emergency room where
the paramedics fed telemetry to the
hospital emergency room and a doctor in
the ER would direct treatment to stabilize
the patient for transport.  Ironically, this
incredible advancement in emergency
medical treatment caused a lot of
problems in the form of irate onlookers
demanding that the ambulance speed off
to the hospital.  I remember arresting a
few of those idiots who just couldn’t get
it through their heads that the
paramedics were ensuring that the
patient would reach the emergency room
alive.
My Favorite Paramedics
During my long police career, I was very
fortunate to have never sustained an
injury serious enough to require the
assistance of paramedics.  That all
changed in the early morning hours of
November 27, 2009.  By the time I was
flat on my back and sweating like a race
horse, I finally came to the realization
that I was suffering a heart attack.  
There are some gaps in my memory of
that morning, but I vividly remember the
sense of calm that came over me when
those paramedics walked through the
door.  The medics, Chris Strippel and
Tonya Bare, quickly diagnosed the heart
attack and began life saving measures.  
Additional firefighters responded to
assist the medics, and I remember
concentrating on being a good patient as
I made my body as rigid as possible when
they lifted me onto the stretcher.  Of
course, nobody’s perfect.  Once inside
the ambulance, I remember Paramedic
Chris Strippel saying to me, “I’m going to
give you four aspirin” as he held the
tablets in his hand in front of my face.  I
replied, “I can’t swallow those without
water.”  I’m sure in his mind Strippel said
to himself, “You chew them, dummy.”  Of
course, he didn't say that.  His response
was a simple, “Just chew them.”   

I’m a big believer in fate.  Well…fate was
again on my side that morning – the
paramedics were stationed only three
blocks from my home, and they were in
house.  I was rushed to a top heart
hospital only six miles away where a top
rate surgical team headed by Dr. Michael
Pressel, my third hero of the day, was
quickly assembled.  Dr. Pressel would
subsequently describe to me just how
sick I was that morning.  Despite
complications during surgery and a two
day stay in intensive care, I came
through the ordeal with an excellent
prognosis.  It’s no overstatement when I
say that a President of the United States
could not have received timelier nor
better quality care than I received.  There’
s no question in my mind that my
survival was only made possible by the
rapid response, dedication, and expertise
of those fantastic paramedics.
Emergency Medical Services Division
The Fire Department's Emergency Medical
Services Division responds to emergency
calls involving injury or illness. More than
70 percent of calls received by the Fire
Department are medical calls.

Medic units (often called ambulances) are
housed in fire stations alongside fire
apparatus, and all career and many
volunteer personnel are trained in both
EMS and fire suppression. The
Department operates 31 career advanced
life support medic units; the Baltimore
County Volunteer Firemen's Association
operates 17 medic units.  All career fire
apparatus are equipped with automatic
external defibrillators, used to treat
sudden cardiac arrest victims.  Eight EMS
district officers supervise daily EMS
operations.
Paramedics are the highest level of
pre-hospital providers; EMTs are the
basic level personnel
Baltimore City Fire Department -
Operations personnel work out of 40
neighborhood fire stations. These
stations house about 100 firefighting,
emergency medical and special operations
companies. These units include 36 engine
companies, 19 ladder companies, 22
first-line medic units, 4 critical alert medic
units, 4 rescue squads and a heavy
rescue as well as specialty units such as
hazmat trucks, collapse rescue vehicles,
mobile command vehicles and various fire
boats.
Maryland State Police Trooper/Flight
Paramedic - The single most difficult
part of becoming a Trooper / Medic is
becoming a Maryland State Trooper. As
you have seen on this website, you will
be required to undergo the same training
as every other Trooper. This includes the
residential State Police Academy. Once
you graduate from the Academy and
complete Field Training, you will be
assigned to a Barrack. You may then
submit a request to transfer into the
Aviation Command. The Command
maintains an eligibility list that is based
on your experience and qualifications, as
well as the results of a skills assessment
and interview.
Police and
Paramedics
"When you become a police officer, you’re
going to learn that a special relationship
exists between police officers and
paramedics." ~ Barry M. Baker
I like to watch cop movies made in the
1940’s and 50’s.  In many of those
movies there comes a point when a
wounded or injured person is placed in
an ambulance for a trip to the hospital.  
It's always a pretty simple process where
the victim is put on a stretcher and
pushed into the back of a station wagon
or van with little more than the odd
bandage in the way of emergency medical
treatment.
During your time in the police academy,
you’ll receive training in basic lifesaving
techniques.  Depending upon your level
of interest, you’ll have opportunities to
acquire advanced levels of training.  
During my twenty years as a patrol
officer, I was assigned to Baltimore City’s
Eastern District which was only 2 ½
square miles in size.  Ambo #3 was
stationed in the center of the district,
and Johns Hopkins Hospital set just one
block beyond the district’s southern
boundary, so about the only emergency
medical care I needed to worry about
providing was applying pressure to
control bleeding; clearing an airway or
encountering a woman in childbirth.  To
say that I was spoiled would be an
understatement.  I even lucked out on
the childbirth thing when I witnessed an
automobile accident at an intersection.  
When I got to the vehicles, I encountered
a woman about to give birth.  Her
husband was rushing her to the hospital
when he learned that blowing his horn
had no effect on traffic control devices.  
Fortunately for both the woman and me,
the accident occurred on that southern
boundary I mentioned.  I only had to
transport that lady one block to the
hospital.  I got her there with at least a
full minute to spare before things started
happening.

Here’s the most important thing for you
to remember.  They’ll be many times
when, while on patrol, you’ll observe an
ambulance setting in front of a location
with its emergency lights activated.  Get
into the habit of stopping and checking
on the welfare of those paramedics.  One
thing that paramedics and police officers
have in common is that they continually
respond to calls which on the surface…we
shall say, appear to be routine.  But, like
police officers, paramedics frequently walk
into situations which will be anything but
routine.  Unlike police officers, paramedics
do not possess the power of arrest or
the same means to resist force with
force.  Your consideration and presence
will always be appreciated.
Baltimore County Fire Department
Paramedics Tonya Bare and
Chris Strippel

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