“In Germany they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me – and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
– Rev. Martin Niemoller
Yesterday an Action Care ambulance covered my station while I was at a training. Action Care is the local private ambulance service. I know, the name always seemed a little silly to me. If a super hero ever created an ambulance service, he would most certainly call it Action Care. I joke about the name, but they’re the real deal. If you’re going to work as a private service EMT, you could do worse than Action Care.
I’m glad we have Action Care. They help cover our district when we are low on resources. They are always professional and polite on scene. They give good care.
Sometimes, working with a private ambulance service on scene can be challenging. There are conflicts. There always are. Occasionally a private ambulance service medic will assume that I’m an idiot because I’m wearing fire gear. Sometimes, that can be amusing and sometimes it can be frustrating. Sometimes a fire medic will assume that the private ambulance medic needs her hand held because, well, she works for a private company after all. I’m sure that’s frustrating for them as well.
I know that most of these biases are made up. When I was in the private ambulance service, I advocated for the advantages of private ambulance service and denounced the fire service as bad for EMS. When I became a fire fighter I suddenly saw things differently and the flaws of private, for profit medicine became more evident.
I’ve certainly seen both sides of the equation. Which, recently made me consider an interesting question. While driving back to my station, thinking about how much I appreciated having our local private service available for our district, an interesting thought occurred to me.
What would happen if we advocated for each other?
I know, it’s a crazy thought. The very idea of a fire fighter / paramedic extolling the virtues of private ambulance service medicine and a private service medic understanding and advocating for the benefits of fire based EMS seems insane. But consider it. Go crazy with me and ask yourself, “What if..?”
What if firefighters saw private EMS as good for our industry and supported the efforts of their private ambulance brothers and sisters?
What if private services recognized the important contributions of fire based EMS systems?
What if, instead of being threatened by each other, our service were public advocates for the others needs?
What if I told members of the community that our local private service was an essential part of our response plan and an excellent example of everything private services can be?
What if my private ambulance counterparts explained why my fire based service was the right design for the community and a good model of what fire based EMS can be?
What if we spoke up for each other?
What would happen next?
You tell me.