Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis the Season

I don't really have a lot of stories about holiday calls, mainly because I was usually back up in the wilds of the Poconos with the family for Christmas. I do have lots of winter calls, but somehow that doesn't equate to the same thing.

'Tis the season for stove fires,
Fa la la la la, la la la laa!
Suicides and frequent fliers,
Fa la la la la, la la la laaaaa!

Food on the stove calls and kitchen fires are common this time of year, since people start cooking a lot more with the cold weather and holidays, and then forget that they left the stove on with the pot still on the burner as they bustle off to wrap presents or whatnot. Then the kitchen fills with smoke, and they call 911.

Myth says that suicides are up during the winter holidays, due to those with family troubles or problems with the long dark nights. Truthfully, I haven't ever run more suicides during the holidays than any other time of hte year. However, I have noticed a trend towards more attempted homicides during this time of year, usually towards family members. Several years ago, a medic I know went on a call for 'one stabbed' on Thanksgiving. Turns out Son wanted to carve the turkey and Dad said no. So Son grabs the carving knife and carves Dad's arm instead.

The frequent flier calls usually do edge up around now though...either due to the cold and needing a bed and a couple square meals, or the elderly and lonely who just want someone to talk to. For some elderly, especially the widows and widowers who live alone, the holidays can magnify the lonliness, and that can magnify that little ailment that they deal with on a daily basis into something huge and troublesome. Sometimes they only need someone to sit and talk to for 10 minutes, sometimes they need an actual trip to the hospital to ease their mind (not that I like burdening the ER any more than it already is).

Another thing my old company did around this time were 'Santa Runs.' We'd take an extra crew, and the reserve engine and the front line ambulance and put Christmas lights on (ambo was available for calls). Every night was a different neighborhood, and we'd head out with supplies of mini-candy canes. Once at the start of the neighborhood, the unlucky guy would dress out as Santa and we'd replace the deck gun with an old seat. Santa would sit on the seat with the scene lights shining on him, and everyone else would hop on the tailboard or sideboards (or running board of the ambo) and we'd put the lights on and head down through the neighborhood. Short bursts of the siren would call all the kids out and the firefighters, dressed out in their turnouts with Santa hats on, would hand out the candy canes. The ambo usually had on the 24-hour Christmas music station on the radio and would blast it out the PA speakers. And just so no one felt left out, one of our Assistant Chief's neighborhood would have a Hannukah party and we would head over with bags of chocolate coins and blue lights on the engine. Lots of fun for all.

All in all, this was a good time to be at the station. Neighbors would bring candy and cookies and such for us, kids made us Christmas cards, and there was always something going on. One year we had a spare fridge sitting out in the day room (it broke and hadn't been taken to the dump yet). One of the captains and one of the master firefighter's were from an area that was well known for it's farms and 'hicks.' So someone wrapped extra lights around the fridge, duct taped up 2 old socks (one with a hole cut in the toe) and wrote 'Redneck Christmas' in black Sharpie on the fridge, and the name of the captain and the master FF under each of the socks.

You know, much as I like life now, there are times I miss living at the station.

1 comment:

Recovering Grady Addict said...

Santa Runs sound great! That's what it's all about anyway. Delight in the eyes of Children!

As far as crazy holiday "attempted homicides"...

My favorite was responding to a stabbing call. Drunken family members. Of course. Sumdood stabbed his uncle in the jugular with a fork... over the last turkey leg. A true Ghetto Crimmas!!!