1. #1
    Senior Member

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    Default Stressed-out Probie needs advice...

    I'm in need of some advice because I need to make a difficult decision. I'm a volunteer at a very nice fire department that has offered an in-house EMT-II class that is free of charge to all members. (I'm currently an EMT-I which = EMT-B in the "lower 48. EMT-II is like EMT-Intermediate.) My department is in dire need of "Lead Medics" and EMT-II's and I feel that they are kinda counting on all of us B's to fill in the gaps. And we are more then willing! I've signed up for the course and the department has made plans to pay for (or already have paid for) my attendance. I totally want to be an EMT-II and I've been waiting for ages for this class to be made available. I love firefighting and EMS and I have big dreams of being a Paramedic some day. (Becoming a Paramedic when you live in Alaska is next to impossible!)

    Here's the problem:

    I've lost two deputy fire chiefs LOD - both of whom where not only great friends, but mentors as well. (One in March, the other in July) In May I was badly injured and I've been busting my hump at physical therapy which is nothing short of pure agony since everything hurts like crazy. (The injuries hurt and the treatments hurt!!!) I'm glad to say that I'm healing but it sure is slow as heck and I'm about as frustrated and stressed out as a person can get. Well...I guess my problems really aren't THAT bad but I'm suffering terribly inside and outside. I'm on non-response status so I dno't even have the joy of going on calls to soothe everything. I'm having a difficult time with college since I'm still stressed out and so far I've totally screwed up my classes. My emotional pain is improving every day but I'm still hurting and this is causing me to be ... lethargic in some areas like studying and sitting in class.

    The EMT-II class takes place during Christmas Break and even though I want to attend I can't help but think that I want to go home and see my mom and dad. I keep thinking, "It would feel so good to go home and spend a month with my family and have them all around me...Mom, Dad, Step-Mom, Step-Dad, little sisters...their crazy cat..." I don't have a husband or a boyfriend to turn to right now and so I keep thinking that a month of relaxing with Mom and my family would be the perfect thing to help me de-stress and get back on track.

    Would it be wrong of me to ditch my fire department, ditch the EMT-II class and just be like, "Sorry - I'm heading to Massachsuetts for the next month. See ya!" ?

    Well...sorry for babbling on and on about this. I'll quit typing before I post a book.
    Probie Name: HurryUpMichelle!!

  2. #2
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    Default

    Did you commit to either?

    (hint, your answer is "yes"- I've signed up for the course and the department has made plans to pay for (or already have paid for) my attendance.)

    In the fire service, your word is your bond.

    I understand that you are a volunteer, but you made a committment and now it is up to you to keep your word. Especially if they have already paid for it.

    Skip out on this and here's how it goes next time you want to get some special training.

    "Didn't she ask us to go to something and then back out after we both agreed she could go and we would pay for it?"

    "Yes"

    "What happened?"

    "She changed her mind"

    "OK, no."

    But then again, you are doing this for free. Just remember future credibility rides on todays decisions.
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

  3. #3
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    Talk to your training officer and explain what you feel like and that you need some time off and that you would like to take the EMT-II class in a few months. Hopefully, the training center will understand and let you take it later on when you are able to do it 100%. Make sure you are ready to do this. I hope that you will make the right choise for yourself.
    Kyle
    www.chalfontfireco.com

  4. #4
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    You have some choices to make, Lets back up hear to the first difficult choice that you made. To move and get to the location that you are Alaska!. Lets look at the second tough choice that you made. To join the fire department. You have joined a very elite brotherhood/sisterhood. You are now focussing on your career. You know that there are obstacles to overcome and you have made those known to us. I realize that you are hurting emotionally and physically. You have to look towards the future. If you can get over the loss of your friends your career path is wide open and layed out before you. If you cannot get over the loss of your friends then you are headed into nothingness. I would suggest you seek out a counselor for the discussion of your medical/psychological health. Somethings in this field can be career enders! You are right up against one. IF you are in mourning for over 2 months then you need to seek out some help. Good luck.

  5. #5
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    First It has been a very long time since I have posted but your question intrigued me.
    So here are my thoughts, or experiences.

    As you know Christmas is a very special time to spend with family. And being you are as far away as you are I would say be with them.

    But I also must ask did you commit and is it paid for. We had a slight problem with people not going to classes the F.D. paid for. Their response was we now have to pay for it and they will reimburse us and getting your money back is like pulling teeth.

    As for the loss of your friends, I am very sorry about that. Were they both LOD or just the one. As tragic as it is when a fireman dies in the line of duty we all know and understand the possibility, and we must be willing to chance it or why would we be doing this.

    This is not a question anyone can answer for you it is a tough decision. I believe you have gotten your best advise already, talk to your training officer about the class and then talk to the person you trust most about your losses.

    Hope everything works out for you,

    and I hope you have a Great Holiday Season.
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

  6. #6
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    It is very difficult from a post to get a "feel" for your dept. and your situation. If you are burning bridges, you must decided how important those bridges are. My gut response is to say go home for Christmas. I have been a boss and I am now a rookie, and I would not hold it against you, although there are some that would. The most important thing is to make sure you communicate with your dept. Don't let them form thier opinions in a vacume.

  7. #7
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    Sorry to hear about your losses. It sounds to me that you need to get yourself taken care of first. I would talk to your training officer and try to pospone your class until you are in better health.( body & mind) I'm sure that they will understand the situation that your in. As for Christmas, I would go back to your family, they could help you get back to feeling better. Take care!!!

  8. #8
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    Michelle,
    I left you a responce in the firefighters fourm. I didn't want to type every thing over again, so please don't hold this against me. Best wishes

  9. #9
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    Michelle,
    First off...having just lost a coworker from a LODD, I can understand where you are coming from. It still weighs heavy on my mind, and not a day goes by I don't think about it.
    Second, I would talk to your training officer, explain the situation to him/her, and see what he/she suggests. As a training officer myself, I would tend to agree with letting you take a later class. The state you are in with your injury and the LODDs I seriously doubt that you would be able to give your fullest to the course, and it would be better for both the department and you to allow you to take the course at a later date.
    Good luck!

  10. #10
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    Michelle,
    Sorry to hear of the loss of your friends. It is not an easy thing to deal with. A short time ago I lost a friend in the LOD, but he was a firefighter and that is what he wanted to be.
    You didn't say if it was a LOD injury you are dealing with. If it was a LOD injury the department should a little more understanding.
    You also said you are not doing well with your college classes. Do you think you can do any better in this course? You don't want to fail because you weren't ready to take the course at this time.
    You should talk to you traing officer about taking the course. Explain to them that you will have a better chance of sucsessfully completing the course at a later date.

    Good Luck / Stay Safe

  11. #11
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    Woodstock, Illinois
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    Talking

    First off CHER UP! Listen I look at it like this. I am an 100% Italian Catholic. You come first, family comes second, and jobs be it career or vollie, come third. I love the fire service, everything I do on my off days is centered on the fire service, here's the thing. I never forget to take time for myself or my family. Talk to your department officers, follow the chain of command. If you cannot concentrate on your school work, now, taking on added responsiblilty is not GOING to help anyone. You say you want to be a medic more than anything, well wait until your head is clear. Go see mom and dad, etc. You owe it to yourself. Your department should understand, if they do not, then its time to consider a new department. I say that because your department should care for you as an individual and assest, not just as a number on the roster who can come to the call becuase during a difficult point in your life you decided to attend this class. So go HOME!
    Take care, good luck, and stay strong.

    [ 12-09-2001: Message edited by: Pizan ]

    Lt. Frank Ricci<br />This my opinon and does not reflect the views of my Employer or family!

  12. #12
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    Post

    The Fire/EMS is all about people. People we help and our own people. Our MOST important asset is the people we have. I have seen problems similar to yours many times in 35 years. For the most part, the people who were most successful in overcoming these problems were the ones who backtracked and re-assessed their situation. It is with that in mind that I give the following information.

    1. Meet with the person who made your EMT reservation. If they contact the provider before you start they will get the money back. If they don't TOUGH. There is always Easter vacation or Spring break.

    2. GO HOME for the holidays. Continue your rehab at home. Get your Health in order.

    3. Talk to Family, trusted friends, clergy and counselor. Get your life priorities & goals in order.

    4. Make sure that you are in the RIGHT College program in the RIGHT College. DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR EDUCATION. It is very common for College students to realize that your First program may not be the right program. Somewhere in the vicinity of 30-40 percent of College students change their programs.

    5. You have lost your mentors. People have finally realized that to get counseling is not a weakness, it is a sign of strength. Find a Counselor at Home and get started on getting your life in order. You will find new mentors. Choose wisely

    It is important that you get things in proper perspective. FIRE/EMS needs the best people we can get.

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