EVER WONDER WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE AN EMT?
Come on author Chris Treece’s ambulance ride. Experience his first frightening call, do CPR on a clammy chest, experience driving an ambulance (it’s fun!), train to be a crew chief in high-pressure situations, get used to gruesome death, meet the tragic people he could not help and the people who helped him – like the pretty cop who saved him from an assault. Discover his joys of ‘rescue dating’ and all-night parties of EMTs, cops and firemen. Finally, experience the immense growth of a young man whose education on the streets made him stronger and wiser than his years. Ride his racing ambulance to see both the beauty and dark underbelly of New England's storybook countryside - from quaint hill farms to poor mill towns - in a book like M*A*S*H meets All Creatures Great and Small.
Author Chris Treece was taught the EMT class by influential Emergency Care co-author Michael O’Keefe, a fellow member of St. Michael's ambulance. After Treece’s EMT years, he worked as a journalist, Emmy-award winning PBS TV producer, a comedy and adventure screenwriter, and an award-winning marketing director. He has the rare experience and ability to tell his wild tales. He is currently at work on a sequel to Crazy Ambulance Tales due in 2025.
"Emmy Award-winning writer Chris Treece delivers the true tale of a young EMT, in a rite of passage story like no other. He brings you along on an exuberant ride, and leaves you asking for more."
"Treece’s writing joins the greats such as Dennis Smith (Report from Engine Co. 182) and Leo Stapleton (30 Years on the Line) in being able to convey the grit, the humor and the heart of emergency responders. Reflective, funny, and soulful. You won't put it down."
"Chris deftly captures the experience of a generation of EMTs, saving lives and witnessing death, and how it changes them forever.”
“Kudos for the positive view of law enforcement, firefighters, hospital staff and other EMTs.”
“Like watching M*A*S*H -- makes me laugh and cry.”
“Jump into the rig with Chris Treece as he takes you on a wild ambulance ride as an EMT for a fire and rescue service with limited resources, personnel, equipment and money, but with lots of laughs, tears and lifelong friendships.”
“Straightforward writing that describes the different personalities of the same type of young guns I trained and worked with. A memorable scene of saving your first code patient. Very descriptive of how it feels to be on the call and responding: the rush, anticipation, the sense of urgency, all very dead on.”
“While he was a college student, Chris Treece undertook a rare education: as an EMT, he got to see the fault lines and fractures in people’s lives, the times of crisis and danger, of confusion and salvation. The stories he tells, then, are not only stark and often funny; they also show what it is like to be trained for the unexpected and the catastrophic, how to be the person we need when we can’t save ourselves.”
“If I hadn’t lived it with Chris, I wouldn’t believe it.”
Excerpt from Crazy Ambulance Tales:
These men were Dwarves, each about five-foot tall, bearded and barrel-chested, with 300 pounds of muscle. They lived together happily in a cute little house in Starksboro. Apparently they liked to wrestle when they came home drunk, and one night one of them took his friend’s head and split it open on the living room floor.
When Flash pulled up the ambulance outside their cabin, we could hear them thudding about from outside.
He and I traded a shocked glance.
“Iroquois is supposed to be here on the scene,” I said, sticking to usual protocol that a driver stays with the rig. “I’ll radio you if I need you.”
Flash just looked at me with narrowed eyes. When I walked in the front door of the cabin, Flash at my side, the Dwarves were grunting and shoving each other around the living room.
On the wooden floor was a huge puddle of bright red blood. One of the men, a redhead, had his forehead split open, blood pouring from the wound in jets down his face and shirt.
“Yahhh!” he said, charging his brown-haired buddy and crashing against the opposing wall. Rustic furniture went flying.
The first responder, Iroquois 12, was standing quietly, eyes wide, in the corner. He was a thin man with wire frame glasses, super capable but not exactly a pumped-up weight lifter.
No police. No firemen. Just Flash and me, and a new, tiny, female probate, hiding behind Flash. More furniture flew in all directions as the Dwarves wrestled back and forth across the room.
Now, Flash was below average height and was average weight. But he was fearless, as I’ve said. When he became a Burlington cop, as a rookie he was called the Cap-Stun Kid, because he would wade into a violent melee, spraying as he went. Tonight, it was Flash and me on the scene.
“Good evening, gentlemen,” I said to the Dwarves in my most authoritative EMS voice. They stopped wrestling and regarded me drunkenly.
Responding to my nod, Flash led the brown-haired Dwarf into the kitchen to chat. Amazingly, the guy went with him. I think it was Flash’s badge and jumpsuit, but also his air of calm authority and perhaps his Irish charm.
This action on his part removed the threat of imminent violence from that room.
The Iroquois first responder and I immediately bandaged the red head, stemming the flow of blood. I sent our probate back to the rig, to ready the stretcher, in a sitting position. This patient could walk out.
“You need to go to the hospital, sir,” I said to the red-headed Dwarf.
“I know,” he slurred.
Once he was bandaged, we walked him out to the rig and into the back of it, sitting him on the stretcher. Great. Off we go. I radioed Flash, inside, “Let’s 76.”
“10-4” he replied.
Then the red-headed Dwarf in the rig began to weep, “I w-won’t go without my best friend.”
I looked at him blankly. His best friend?
“The guy in the cabin!” whispered Iroquois 12. Oh Lordy, no.
I heard somebody else sobbing outside. It was the brown-haired Dwarf.
Moments later he was in the back of the rig. He and his drunk buddy clasped each other, crying. I rolled my eyes. I nodded to Flash to close the back doors of the rig.
The little probate I sent to the crew chief’s seat in the front.
The Iroquois first responder, in his fire coat, waved goodbye from the pine woods as we rolled away.
“Medical Center, this is St. Mike’s,” I radioed.
“Go ahead St. Mike’s.”
“I'm en route to your facility with a 55-year-old male patient who sustained a three-inch-long, half-inch wide laceration to his forehead in a wrestling injury.”
The two Dwarves continue to sob, holding each other. I had to speak up, on the radio, to be heard over them. I provided the hospital with the red-headed patient’s vital signs. Things went well for the first 20 miles or so, as Flash raced us up Route 116, lights and sirens blazing.
Then we had a problem. Swearing broke out between the Dwarves.
My eyes widened: Oh no. This was what I had feared.
The red-head took a swing at the brown-haired Dwarf, but missed, because he was held to the stretcher by the seat belts. But the other Dwarf responded by swinging at his buddy’s jaw and connecting. “Crack!”
“You OK back there?” said Flash from the front.
The red-head swung back, missing again, “Yahhh!”
They began to throttle each other.
“OK?” said Flash.
“Uhhh,” I said.
At this point, I had pressed my body as far back against my seat near the passthrough as I possibly could, the metal clipboard clasped to my chest. I hoped that I would somehow become invisible.
© 2022 Chris Treece. Excerpt may be used for promotional purposes only.