Behind the Badge

Dehydrated Water

In 1995, Philip had just completed 3 years in the US Army. He applied to our Fire Department, and was hired as a trainee. Before 'investing' many dollars in the formal education of a "new hire", our department's policy is to have the trainee "ride along" as an observer both on the fire duties and the medic duties. After a couple of months of "localized training" the Training Officers (I was a Lieutenant, and was the Senior Medic Trainer) will 'evaluate' the trainee's "potential" for becoming a productive member of our team.

Philip had been a 'medic' in the Army. Unfortunately, he could NOT understand that a medic in the Army did NOT equate to a PARAMEDIC in civilian life!! (A medic in the Army compared to a Paramedic in civilian life is like comparing a "Nurse'Aide to an RN"!!) You couldn't 'teach' him anything. He already "Knew It All"!!!! The Fire Trainer told me that there was NO WAY he was going to 'recommend him' and I was feeling the same. However, since I "have a heart" I hate to ruin someone's "dreams", so I figured it would be best if somehow Philip would decide to quit instead of us having to fire him.

The alarm dropped for a "motor vehicle accident at the traffic circle on North Dixie with a driver trapped. No fire involved, unknown injuries." Well, we raced to the scene to find that a 1993 Dodge Ram Pickup with HUGE 'mud slinger' tires, and jacked up about 3 feet or so from the factory height, had "failed to yield" when entering the traffic circle and ran UP AND ONTO a MG Midget. Fortunately, George (the driver of the midget) saw the truck coming and literally "laid down" across the front seats and thus was totally uninjured EXCEPT he was trapped!!! Now George attends the First Church of the Nazarene and we were Gideons together. He has a warped sense of humor just like I do!!!

After assessing the situation, we (the Fire Captain, the Sheriff's Deputies, the Dayton Police Officers and I) determined the BEST way to release George was to physically LIFT the Dodge off from the Midget. Fortunately, I-75 runs adjacent to the traffic circle and at that time they were replacing a bridge over Wagner Ford Road which empties onto the Circle. Thus there was a HUGE crane setting right there!! All we had to do was call the Road Crew (this was noontime and all of the bridge work was being performed between 8pm and 6pm.) The ETA was about 15-20 minutes, so we had to "hurry up and wait"!!!! And then it hit me. NOW's MY CHANCE!!!!!

I looked around for Philip and sure enough, he was in front of the TV News Cameras telling all about the situation of which he knew NOTHING about!! I quickly told George the whole "training" situation with Philip and asked for his assistance. George quickly and gleefully agreed. I asked George to "moan and groan like you're gonna die in the next 30 seconds". He deserved an Emmy!!!!! I hollered for Philip and he came on the run.

Now mind you, there are HUNDREDS of onlookers by now, the place is SWARMING with Law Enforcement including Ohio State Patrol Officers by now. There are several Fire Fighters INCLUDING OUR CHIEF, and the "road crew" was just arriving. All 4 major TV Network Crews (from local stations) were there, along with Radio and Newspaper reporters. It was quite a sight to behold.

As Philip approached, I waited until he could hear George real well, and then in a "panicked voice" I said "Philip, hurry, go to the medic and get me a one liter bag of dehydrated water. HURRY." Philip was off like a cat with turpentine on it's butt!! However, the time went by and it was literally 7 or 8 minutes before he steps out of the back door of the Medic. Of course the cameras focused on him, the crowd was gawking, and then he said it. LOUDLY!

"Lieutenant Ginter, I can't find the one liter bag of dehydrated water. Will either this D-5 or D-9 (our stock IV Bags) work?"

It was stone quiet for about 5 seconds. Then, everyone... the Cops, the Firefighters (including the Chief!), the crowd, the news reporters, EVERYONE cracked up!!! Poor Philip just stood there wondering why in the world everyone was laughing at what he had just said. Finally one of the fine Deputies went up to him and explained. Philip quickly disappeared into the back of the medic, and we didn't see him again until we loaded George into the medic to transport to the ER for a 'checkup'.

Philip handed in his resignation the next day!!!

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