No Excuses

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The women of Miami Dade Fire Rescue are on a roll. This October Flight Medic Susana Oatmeyer performed an open water hoist in Florida Bay to retrieve a victim from a capsized boat; Rescue Diver Brandy Paternoster and Sal Hernandez rescued a truck driver trapped in a canal; and TRT Firefighter Maggie Castro placed 1st […]

A Fine Line

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One of my favorite writers, the late Oxford FF Larry Brown, talks about writing in this short clip, but I think his words apply beautifully to firefighting and EMS, not to mention life in general.     And, that’s Larry Brown. Brutal but honest.    

Vulnerability

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“What a profound thing it is to call for help. How astounding, the number of people fate allows to float through this life never once confronting their own mortality. One of the benefits of the fire and rescue business, if you will have it, is a near-constant sense of vulnerability. A recognition that at the […]

Peace and Chaos

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It’s Sunday morning in Dade County, Florida. I’m working on Engine 66 and so far, before noon, we’ve run on a woman suffering from delirium tremens due to alcohol withdrawal, a “male having a breakdown”, threatening to kill himself and his wife, and a sweet 93 year old lady born in 1921. So much for […]

Career Day

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A few weeks ago, I and my fellow friends, Susanna Oatmeyer and Kalynn Cresse attended Career Day at Kendall Lakes Elementary in Miami, Florida.  Although we are all certified firefighters with MDFR, we appeared in the garb of our different roles: Firefighter, Special Ops Helicopter Pilot, and Special Ops Flight Medic .   We staged […]

The Academy

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My recruit class was an experiment.  Miami Dade Fire Rescue needed firefighters and in an attempt to put two classes through simultaneously, sent my class, 99, to a neighboring county’s academy. Let’s just call it BFE.  (This was ten years ago and instructors & attitudes may have changed). BFE wasn’t a big fan of ours […]

A Firefighter’s Parade

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I am not a parade kind of person.  I find peace and solitude far more appealing, (which does not explain my choice of careers, I know!) yet I wanted to find a place where Triple F’s Fabulous Female Firefighters could come together from across the country and have a chance to meet in person. Somewhere […]

Triple F MindSet

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Triple F is a mindset.  An attitude.  It’s a determination to forge our mind, body, and spirit into an indomitable flame. Indomitable means “impossible to subdue or defeat” and flame is pure energy and light, so I find indomitable flame an inspiring metaphor for human potential.  To become this indomitable flame means taking the path less […]

Browned Skin Girls and Belt Buckles

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One thing I love about the fire service is its deep tradition and emblems of brotherhood.  Representations of our trade abound linking us all as a common tribe.  Generally, though, the figurative images tend to be white and male.  In America’s earlier days the Irish were fierce firefighters and I appreciate that, but as they […]

Bring Your A Game

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One day, many years ago during the fire academy, we had to search for a downed firefighter and then drag a dummy out of the tower.  That part was relatively easy.  Getting it back up numerous flights of stairs was another story.  I remember standing at the bottom of the tower with this enormous hunk […]

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