About sixteen years into my career as a firefighter in Providence, RI I had an idea. What if I were to write down everything that happened during a four day tour on one of those yellow sticky pads, put the pad away for a little while, then elaborate on all of the notes that I had complied. I did exactly that on Easter weekend, 2004, almost ten years ago.
The result of my weekend of note taking and subsequent piecing together all of the things that happened during that time are the books, Rescuing Providence and Responding. The original form was one book that I called “Four Day War.” If I could do it all over again I would have kept the book as I wrote it, a four-hundred page journey that did a good job describing what it is like to work a thirty-four hour shift, 24 off then a thirty-eight – with little or no sleep during the tours.
In retrospect, it wasn’t the brightest thing to do, but I was younger then, and thought I could work forever. It wasn’t the money that compelled me to work those hours, rather it was the addictive nature of the job, and the challenge that it presented. I couldn’t do it now, and wouldn’t, and probably shouldn’t have done it then, but I did, and managed to tell the story.
The books are available at Amazon and some book stores and other on-line retailers. Amazon is running a special until 8:00 tonight, Responding, the Kindle version is going for $4.99. (it was $3.99 yesterday)
It’s been a great ride, there really is nothing like a career in Fire/EMS, and even though my complaining is legendary, the books offer a glimmer of hope, and the reminder to me and whoever reads them that what I was able to do for as long as I did touched the lives of countless people, and though I will fade away and be forgotten, the deeds that I had the opportunity to do will live on long after I’m gone.
And the best part of that; I’m nothing special, just one guy that does the same thing the rest of us do, I was simply fortunate enough to be able to tell the story.