Saturday, February 2, 2013

A UD "auto" biography -- Nathan Steinbrunner, Ambulances, and his work as an EMT

Nathan Steinbrunner

23 January 2012

Ambulances and Your Everyday Cars

Many individuals take their automobiles for granted that they will
always be available when needed. They know every morning their car
will be there when they open their garage door with keys in hand as
they head off to work, they can rely on their key fab to guide them
back to their minivan in the crowded Wal-Mart parking lot after buying
groceries, and they can be assured they will have enough space in the
trunk to pack everything for a long family vacation. It is because of
this reliance that Americans have also grown to have a relationship
with their everyday automobiles. This relationship is so strong that
Americans find comfort and safety in their automobiles. I will be the
first to admit that I have never had a great relationship with any
automobile that I have ever come into contract with, but the more that
I work as an EMT with the campus rescue squad, the more I realize the
power that an automobile has both on the road and to an individual.

The University of Dayton Rescue Squad’s Ford-manufactured 2011 Coach
is used in basic life support services on campus. As an EMT, I have
the responsibility to drive the hulking medic down the narrow
university streets being aware of both oblivious college student
pedestrians and not-so-parallel parking jobs. During my first call on
campus, I began to realize the presence one can make by driving an
ambulance on the streets of a crowded university. With lights and
sirens blaring, our crew took off across campus to a male found passed
out in his yard. Red and blue lights shined to make our location known
to students and drivers alike who moved aside to clear a path for the
medic; I drove behind the wheel taking precautionary measures to
ensure the safety of our crew.

Being behind the wheel of an ambulance, the driver can easily grow an
enlarged ego thinking that he is king-of-the-road and has free reign
to break any and all traffic laws that exist. While there are some
grey areas that emergency medical professionals are allowed to step
into, the most important priority is safety; it would be quite
embarrassing for an ambulance to get into an auto accident on the way
to a call. So because of this, I found myself falling back on the
simple and basic driving skills that I remembered learning while
driving with my mother when I was fifteen and preparing to get my
driver’s license: maintain good distance between cars, look both ways,
don’t slam on the breaks, etc. All of this is hard to do in an
ambulance with a huge backend, very difficult side mirrors to use, and
the fact that the medic has been worn and any small bump in the road
can send passengers bumping and sliding in all directions.

After arriving on scene and examining the patient, he was loaded in
the ambulance and again I found myself driving lights and sirens to
the hospital while the rest of the crew cared for the patient in the
back end. This is the job of an emergency medical service and now I
find myself a part of it: individuals in need of help and bringing an
ambulance to provide the relief they need. Within the ambulance,
patients can receive the care, comfort, and safety they deserve.
Though the ambulance itself does not provide the actual comfort, it is
because of the ambulance’s abilities that this service is available to
the public. Just as any other automobile is able to mentally and
physically provide a comfort zone for its passengers, an ambulance is
able to create that same level of comfort. This allows us to perform
our duty as EMTs and still maintain that person-automobile
relationship which has gradually been built upon throughout the
history of the automobile.

My experience with the University of Dayton Rescue Squad has helped to
affirm my belief that automobiles do have the ability to change a
person’s life and make them feel comfortable in it. Although the
changes made in the life of an individual in an ambulance are probably
much different than that of a businessman in his car going to work or
a mother loading groceries into her minivan, the fact is that
automobiles do have the ability to change their passenger’s lives. For
me, I believe that automobiles provide a means of escape from the wild
and ever-changing world around us. Like a bubble, the ambulance and
everyday cars allow us to remain protected from the outside world, but
from the inside, we are safely comforted in a place where we feel
confident, are at ease, and consider home.

Nathan Steinbrunner

No comments:

Post a Comment