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Micky K- Everyday Hero
For Micky K it’s never a boring day on the job. He is a firefighter for St. Paul, Minnesota, as well as raising a family in Shakopee. I recently asked him some questions about his job experiences.
What made you want to be a Paramedic/ Firefighter?
I initially just wanted to become a career or full-time firefighter, but I found out after many miles traveled, and many tests taken that it’s almost impossible when you are a white male. So I went to medic school to pad my resume, and that was the turning point for my hiring. I've always wanted to give back to the community by saving people, and property. And I wanted to find a job that was always changing, and exciting.
Was firefighting something that you always wanted to do?
I remember when I was in 7th grade I wanted to become a doctor. That thought slipped my mind quickly, and by the time I was graduating, I enrolled in Carpentry School. After 2 semesters, I couldn't see any future in it, so I sat down and really thought about what kind of a job would fit my goals. It was either firefighting or crab fisherman. Luckily firefighting worked out. It’s also an exciting, intense job that challenges a person.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I only have to work 11 days a month....just kidding. I like working 24 hr shifts. I like the rush that overwhelms you when running into a burning building, but mostly, I enjoy the look on a person’s face after helping them.
Getting puked on, getting spit at, getting sworn at, getting punched, dealing with intoxicated people, working around infectious diseases, finding burnt bodies, picking up body parts after an accident, cleaning the toilets at the station, and having someone die in front of you after you have exhausted all your resources and procedures you were taught.
What training do you have to go through? Was it hard?
I attended 2 years of college for fire science. Then 1.2 years of college for paramedic. And a bunch of experience work. The Fire school wasn’t too hard, but the medic school was hard for a guy who has a memory like a field mouse.
What is the worst accident that you have seen?
Hmmmm......There are a bunch. I was riding the medic rig one shift, when we got called out for a "vehicle vs. pedestrian accident.” As we drove to the location, I noticed the road we were traveling on, had a wide path of some sort of oil, or water down the middle of the lane. As we pulled up to the incident, I saw a white cargo van, and lying next to the van was a body lying face down. Then I realized that it wasn’t oil on the road but blood and body fluid. The patient was a 15 yr old female that was run over by the van, and somehow got wrapped up in the rear wheel well. She was drug for 3.5 blocks. After a car pulled in front of the van to stop it, the girl fell out of the wheel well. Just let me say that she didn’t look very good at all, her back was smoking from the tire. When we rolled her over onto a backboard, and shined some light on the scene, I noticed she had no left arm and her right was broken as well. Her right leg was broken also. She had a 7" laceration starting on the bridge of her nose going up her head. Her abdomen was eviscerated. But what was most shocking, was she was CONSCIOUS. She was complaining of pain pretty much everywhere, and after we did some quick procedures, we loaded her into the ambulance, and brought her to the ER.
Where you at the bridge after it collapsed?
I had the day off, but I got paged in to work around 7ish, I think. We did bring supplies up to other crew members, but we never stayed, we came back to cover our city.
Have you ever been to an accident that involved someone you knew?
Yes, but nothing too serious. Just a chest pain. She was one of my mom’s friends.
After an accident or fire do you go through something like a debriefing?
After any big or significant event, usually there will be a CISD (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing). It isn’t mandatory to attend, it is for whoever wants to talk about what happened. Cops, FF, Medics who were part of the event are invited.
Have you ever gotten injured on the job?
Nope, not yet.
Have you ever gotten lost in the ambulance while on a call?
Of course, even I get lost once in a while. All you do is pull over to the side, turn your lights off and look back at the map, or call dispatch over the radio, and have them help you with the directions.
Have you ever slept through the call?
I have slept through calls for Shakopee fire, but non other. Shakopee Fire calls are sent through the pager I keep on my side on the days I have off from work from St. Paul fire.
At the station, what do you do while there isn't a call?
Clean the trucks, clean the station, cook meals, written training, hands on training, physical training, repair equipment, eat.
Do you work a lot of odd shifts?
On 24, off 24, on 24, off 24, on 24, off 24, on 24 off 6 days, on 24, off 24 on 24, off 24, on 24, off 24, on 24 off 4 days. Then it repeats back to the beginning.
What do you do in your off time?
Watch Zack, fish, attend calls on Shakopee Fire, hang out.
Who does your family include?
Wife Lisa, Son Zack
Does your job ever interfere with your family?
According to my wife: ALL the time.
Do you think of your job differently now that you have a family?
Yeah, sort of. I guess I will think twice before doing anything REAL dangerous. And I am always concerned with bringing infectious diseases home, which is why I always wear personal protective equipment like gloves.