Saturday, April 14, 2007

EMS Chaplain?

There is an EMT in our service area who is also the pastor at a local Baptist Church. He is an EMT-B (soon to be an Intermediate!) with a first response squad that goes to our calls. He's one of the very active members of that squad, and has responded to some pretty rough calls. I remember one call in particular. In a blinding snow-squall, we were 10+ minutes out with the ambulance when the call came in for a person unresponsive, not breathing. Code 99. When we got there, here's our 1st responder on his knees in the patient's bathroom performing CPR. He'd been at it (stopping only to run the AED) for about 10 minutes. I've run my share of codes, but it had to be tough doing it by himself with the family freaking out 10 steps away.

Anyway, he's also on the local fire department and is the official department Chaplain. He stops by our crew room often just to chat. There are always good natured "I don't think I saw you at Church on Sunday" jabs, and we all enjoy his friendship. In EMS it seems that we all have some demons that need excising, especially after a bad call. CISDs (Critical Incident Stress Debriefings) are good, but it really helps to have a friend that has a strong spiritual read on things. And its not just stressful calls I personally like to discuss with him. He's a great ear (with some solid advice) for those everyday things that make me feel I need some divine help. Thanks Charlie, you are needed and appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Charlie! I too am a paramedic Chaplain and have been since 1989 in Montreal, Quebec. Canada. It's nice to read that your comrades appreciate your ministry of presence as well as other gifts you provide. Keep up the good work. Yours in Christ. Rev. Dr. Christopher J. Hill, AEMT-FF.

Anonymous said...

Our Lord did not hold back from the painful parts of human life. He has come alongside of us in our suffering. We, in a sense, serve in the similitude of this. Know that He is with us on the streets! It is an honor serve together.
Chaplain Fr. Jon-Stephen Hedges
St. Athanasius Orthodox Church
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara Sheriff's Dept.Chap.

Southern California Fire & EMS said...

As I read this post, it confirmed in my heart that while Fire and Police Departments have their Chaplains, there is a huge need for EMS Chaplains to serve the EMT's and Paramedics in the private sector.

I am located here in Southern California and with a heavy heart have begun to pray that the Lord will use me in the capacity of Lay Chaplain for the EMS sector.

I see a huge void and with the Lord's help, I would like to make an impact, God willing.

Thank you for that wonderful blog. It has definitely inspired me!

Ed Castillo
Dir. of FIRE & EMS Ops
Southern California FIRE & EMS

Skip said...

This is awesome... we have been saying this for years. I have been in EMS since 1973 - quit laughing. Yes, the ambulances were motorized.

Anyway, I became a Chaplain 12 years ago and have served primarily Fire departments. In the last two years, we have been moving towards serving the EMS sector. Would love hearing more feedback.

Please check out our website:

On HIS Shift,
Chaplain Skip, NREMT-P, BCCC