Emergency medical services… For the last almost 18 years, I’ve worked two jobs. Not for two different departments, for one department. In my department we are all cross trained and we all ride the ambulance, box, medic, bus or whatever your department calls it. 

We are all at least advanced emergency medical technicians. Some of us are intermediates, and some paramedics. BLS or ALS. We ride the box together. Half our shift is spent on the box, and the other half on the truck, engine, or squad. Every now and then we get on a fire truck for 24, but that’s not all the time for everyone. 

The city is 64 square miles and there’s a lot going on everyday. Honestly, the majority of the calls are medical calls. We do “fire stuff” too obviously, but everyone needs 911 for everything. Stubbed toe? Gotcha. Gun shot? Be there in a sec. Sunday morning stabbing? Putting down my brunch and on the way. Fire? Yes please. 

I worked on busy ambulances for a good part of my career so far. I’ve had the opportunity to help a lot of people as well. I admittedly love the fire stuff way more than I love the box, but I can’t take away the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of good on the medic. It’s where most of the “saves” happen. 

If you’re riding the box, I see you mi compadre. Informal leadership is even more important when in the back of the medic by yourself with a partner saving a victim from a gunshot. Rank? No. It’s skills, competence, and confidence. It’s building trust with your crew so they trust you to lead them through the bad calls on scene. 

Jump seat leadership is just as important on an ambulance as it is on the fire truck. We don’t have a whole lot of officers out there riding ambulances anymore. At least we don’t where I’m from. So, make the effort to lead where you are and train the younger generation of firefighters to lead themselves on the box, so they can lead others. 

I don’t ride much anymore since I’ve been promoted, but I haven’t forgotten the challenges that are faced on busy ambulances. The challenges my crews face on a daily basis. If you’re riding the box I see you mi compadre. Stay engaged. 


Published by Joshua S. Chase

My mission is to strengthen, encourage, and empower others.

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