Mass Casualty

Dear Future Emergency Responder,

 

There will come a time when you enjoy CPR

And others won’t understand why you are excited for another person’s emergency

 

Every time your pager rings

Your heart skips a beat and you jump on the Engine

 

The falls, sicknesses, and breathing difficulties

Will seem like the same call over, and over again

 

Until,

 

Until, your first Mass Casualty Incident

When the Amtrak derails and every pager in two counties rings

 

Until, you show up on scene with twenty other engines

And thirty other medics

 

Until, the falls, broken bones, and breathing difficulties

Are for over seventy patients, not one

 

Until, you realize how vulnerable we really are

And that although you are twenty-two, you have a job to do

 

And after the lights and sirens are off at the end of the day

You will reflect

 

On the black, red, yellow, and greens

The bodies on the ground and the ones stuck in the train

 

On the derailment that changed the lives of your community

But made you closer with your crew

 

On how you have to jump back into the Engine tomorrow

Because today was just another day on the job

 

And you won’t enjoy CPR

Because you dread another person’s emergency

 

And your pager will ring

And the anxiety of another emergency call hits you

 

Until, you have shift dinner at the station

And you find

 

That you were not the only one

Who felt as if the train crash affected them too

 

And then you rebuild together

Because they are your family

 

And they jump in the Engine with you

And they get excited for a CPR with you

 

And they run to the emergency with you.

 

EMT Barlow

 

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My community

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