Author Topic: GLORY DAYS  (Read 176730 times)

Offline nfd2004

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #195 on: July 29, 2019, 11:12:04 PM »
 Dan, THANK YOU for all those GREAT STORIES and EXCELLENT PHOTOS of your early riding days with some of the busiest companies of the FDNY. Of course during my buffing days of the Bronx, I'm sure that we were at a few of the same jobs together. 

 Reading these stories takes me back to those very busy days of chasing the rigs of E88/L38, E82/L31, E45/L58, and some of those other very busy companies throughout the area. It was an education that you couldn't get from a book.

 I look forward to reading about your EMS days coming up. I know at the time it was the NYC EMS before the merge into the FDNY. Like all of the city's services, they were stretched to the breaking point. It was almost impossible to get an ambulance due to the overwhelming number of calls going on. ETA's for EMS units of One Hour were not uncommon due the staggering number of incidents going on. 

Nycfire.net

Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #195 on: July 29, 2019, 11:12:04 PM »

Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #196 on: July 30, 2019, 07:52:05 AM »
DAYS OF RIDING; E 45...T-RIFF-IC !
Epilogue

Today is Sunday, July 6, 1975 and probably the last time I will be riding with Jack. Some things have changed, I am now 18 and have my drivers license, I just graduated from High School and  I will be joining my local volunteer fire department which I am excited about tomorrow night, Monday. I have been an Explorer with the fire department since 1970 and tomorrow I make the big leap to become a full fledged volunteer firefighter “Proby”. I have been with the fire department as an Explorer for five years and have grown to know many of the members, including NYCFIRE.NET “Memory Master” who was a dispatcher and member. The memorable years were special and it was there I was able to develop wonderful  lifelong relationships with friends that I would share with up to today!

I have ridden with Jack about three times at E 45, things have changed for him too, he did well on his promotion exam to Lieutenant, covered for a little while in various Harlem firehouses and now has a spot as Lieutenant at E 45. E 45 is stationed on East Tremont Avenue with Tower Ladder 58. Ladder 58 has just recently moved next door to 45’s quarters in a new two story modern firehouse, Battalion 18 would join them. The members park their cars in the rear of quarters where there is a large alleyway, it is only accessible from 178 Street, from there members then enter the rear door of E 45’s firehouse and directly into the kitchen. The kitchen has a long table with fixed bench seating that doesn’t move, the benches are affixed to the floor. Ladder 58 members cross over to their part of the firehouse to their kitchen, bunk room and sitting rooms from a cut out door opening between the firehouses. Engine 45 quarters was built many years ago, the “new” L 58 is a modern brick firehouse added alongside. Tonight I will be spending a night tour with E 45. I park my 1966 Chevy Caprice in the parking lot and walk up the steps into 45’s kitchen where I meet Jack. We sit for a while and catch up on family stories, the housewatchman announces “change of tours” and Jack prepares his roll call. I meet the guys, I will be riding with and the MPO John Koskie. John is the “Willy Knapp” of E 45, he is the head honcho and a very friendly, funny man, John has a good sense of humor. I recognize Johns name from WNYF magazine I have been receiving, John writes the 7th Division **All Hands Column in the back of the mag.

As I look over the rig, mounted on the front cab are large metallic numerals 45 that have been painted to resemble the stars and stripes of the American flag,  on the top of the windshield is a logo that says “T-riff-ic”, not sure of the meaning though...as I continue to look over the CF Mack, I notice the cab doors for the members riding behind have been removed.

It doesn’t take long before we start running. Jack has me riding the front seat next to him. I notice the dashboard on the officer side of the rig. It has a small block of wood that is maybe 3” x 2” glued to the dash with three small holes on top. One of the holes has a chopped down pencil, the type you would usually see in a bowling alley. Next to the block is a cut down clip board with small pieces of paper clipped down. They are the remains of the day tour with times and box numbers scrolled on it. Overhead on the visor is a cardboard copy of the FDNY 10 codes ...Not before long, we are off and running, different boxes start to stream in and we shoot from one box across the West Farms section to others. On occasion I get to see E 82 and L 31 on some boxes to our south. Anytime that the Bronx CO contacts 45 and assigns another run, Jack responds by saying “with pleasure”, and he means it! ...After a few runs, he turns the handset over to me to transmit 10-92’s to the Bronx CO, meanwhile he writes the time and box number on small slips of paper he keeps stuffing into his top right pocket. His pocket is starting to bulge.

Looking back on previous tours with 45, I remember we caught a second alarm job down in the Hunts Point section. The job came in just before lunch, turning east out of quarters unto East Tremont Avenue, then turning south near Bryant Avenue we could see the thick black column of smoke as we crossed over the Cross Bronx Expressway. It was a factory fire and 45 was first due on the second. We spent a good portion of the day there. This is the first time I see the new Tower Ladder 31,  it is positioned on the exposure #2 side and I click a photo. (This is one of the times I took a camera in, and below are some shots from that fire.)

Back to the firehouse. E 45 is stationed on the busy double yellow lined East Tremont Avenue. East Tremont Avenue is a well traveled east west thoroughfare that runs the length of the Bronx. In front of quarters and lining the avenue are the typical yellow and red awnings of bodegas. In many respects, the West Farms section is as gritty as I recall my first days in 82/31. It is still most occupied residences, but there are many blocks with vacants interspersed, the area is alive with a robust energy of humanity. Traffic up and down East Tremont Avenue is relentless.

Recently Jack has painted the company office and as a special touch added a day glow star effect to the blue ceiling...giving the effect like you are sleeping under the stars. Members of 45 apparently liked the idea as they continued the theme into their bunkroom. Tonight I too will be sleeping under the stars, and you do get the sensation that you are outside somewhere. In 1975 E 45 responded to just under 6000 runs and first among all NYC engine companies in workers with 5159. (I had “heard” that E 45 was the only company in FDNY lore to break 1,000 runs in a month, like I said, “I heard”...) We have done a lot of running...I hit the rack with the other guys around 2 A.M. when it seemed the chaos was calming down. It turned out to be a rather quiet night, but not for long... just as sunlight was breaking, the bunkroom lights were turned on as we turned out for a phone alarm near Bryant Ave and East Tremont. John Koskie makes the left out of quarters, and we quickly arrive two blocks down from quarters and pull up to Bryant Av... as John begins to make a right turn onto Bryant, Jack points upward, he sees three windows on the top floor of the six brick with heavy fire illuminating the new dawn light blue sky.

That would be my final run and final “Days of Riding” with Jack until I get hired by FDNY in seven more years!...But, what a way to end this journey, you might say; “T-RIFF-IC”!

**SIDENOTE: John Koskie wrote the WNYF “All Hands” 7th Division Column for many, many years. In 1988, John would hand the column over to me when he retired and I was assigned to L 38. The column has remained with a  L 38 member since (or at least until I stopped the subscription about five years ago). Fast forward...In less than ten years I would be detailed to drive E 45 for a day tour, and within the same time frame I would receive an Engine Unit Citation...my only one...working a night tour with the “Eagles”.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365

Coming next; "GORY" DAYS. A review of my experience with NYC EMS assigned to the “murder capital” of NYC 1978!






Job ahead, view from cab of E 45 heading to 2nd in Hunts Point:


42 Truck Operating at 2nd:


New Ladder 31, first TL:


Todays E 45 and L 58 Quarters:


"T-RIFF-IC"




Thank you Willy, it was really fun revisiting those years. As I type and retype the stories I feel like I'm right back there again, it's a magical feeling and I appreciate you, the gang and the readers for allowing me to share those days, the "Glory Days".  I have a few EMS stories in the can, that I am fine tuning, they are doozies!
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 07:53:36 AM by JohnnyGage »

Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #197 on: July 31, 2019, 07:41:27 AM »
Hello Troops! I received this golden oldie FDNY 10-CODE card replica from Disp51 in a PM. I'm happy to pass it along! ...And please feel free to jump in on the thread here with your thoughts and memories, it is much appreciated.

A card like this was mounted to the visor of E 45 back in the day, how simple the codes were back then...


Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #198 on: August 04, 2019, 09:57:27 PM »
‘GORY’  DAYS; Preamble

Sometime back in the spring of 1978 I filled out an application for NYC Emergency Medical Services Health and Hospital Corp as an “Ambulance Corpsman”, an Emergency Medical Technician. I was hired that summer and assigned to the Liberty Outpost in East New York, Brooklyn. The NYC EMS was operated solely by Health and Hospitals (H&H) and not affiliated with the FDNY at that time. I worked for NYC EMS thirteen months before my next appointment  as a firefighter for the Washington DC Fire Department. But... BIG BUT!...I’m amazed at what I witnessed and experienced... to this day the memories still seem a surreal mix of fact and fantasy. Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to take meticulous notes** when I got in the field, and if I did not write these notes in my own handwriting, I would doubt myself.

You have read on these forums exciting and stirring recollections from the FDNY and NYPD  “War Years”. I hope to give you a small inside scoop...the skinny... of a NYC Health and Hospitals Corpsman's point of view from the back of the ambulance, or what New York City Cops and Fireman call; “the Bus” during that turbulent period.

Caveat; Even though the above title is expressive, I’ll have to reserve a handful of anecdotes that even within the description would be to ugly and revealing...But, stay tuned... I have quite a few intriguing occurrences to which I made notes of and I think you will find very amusing.

(**Notes. I was told very early on from my EMS Supervisor that I should keep notes, just in case I would have to go to court. I bought a green pocket size 3x5” 100 page spiral notepad. The pad has sixteen lines per page. With the exception of allowing one space between each tour I worked, I compiled over 130 front and back pages of “job” entries with a small note of any unusual circumstances pertaining to that job. Each tour, I listed the date, time, weather and my partner. Below that entry would be the time, address, and disposition of the run. The date of my last entry was 8/1/79)

                                                                   **********

I should also point out that 69Mets Garrett and I shared a midnight-eight tour at Liberty Outpost together in a bus on Saturday, July 21, 1979. Garrett and I responded to six jobs; a collision, 2 different stabbings, an OBS maternity, sick and injured call. All logged into my notepad!

Memorymaster has a history with EMS. I invite Garrett and Charlie to jump in with some of their stories! It will make for some very compelling reading from a different time and service. Hope you enjoy!





Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #199 on: August 04, 2019, 10:09:09 PM »
GORY DAYS; Part 1
Dodge

Early November morning 1978, weather is cool and calm and I am the driver of NYC EMS “Liberty 374” from the East New York Liberty Outpost. The ambulance or “bus” as it is referred to is a white, slightly beat up mid 1970 Ford 150 truck chassis with a square Gruman patient cabin in the rear, in place of a truck bed. The bus has an orange stripe that runs the length of the rig, with blue capital lettering on the box; “EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE”, “CITY OF NEW YORK”, HEALTH AND HOSPITAL CORP”.  On the door is the number 102, but it does not refer to anything.

My partner is a Corpsman like myself, we are both EMTs and have been hired together recently. His name is Joe, he is the same age as me and like me he is from Long Island, both of us are experiencing a new venture together. Joe is a bit of a pain in the ass, he is slow, lazy and arrogant. He speaks to me in a condescending fashion even though we came on at the same time. But that pent up annoyance inside me came to an abrupt end the last time he and I worked together...he handled a call that did not turn out well, and I let him know that his lazy behaviour and lackluster performance would never happen again with me...but more on that in another article. Anyway, tonight I take control of our assignments and responses... Joe and I are “roving” the ENY area, we are working the graveyard shift, the early morning weather is nice and comfortable. The “roving” protocol is similar to that of police sector cars, you “rove” in your area until assigned a call or you can stand fast at a certain location that usually provides a bathroom and coffee. Our hang out  location is Pennsylvania Avenue and Liberty Street, a few blocks from the garage, but right now I’m in the mood to cruise the neighborhood.

We have just completed a OBS (maternity) call on Hemlock Street in the eastern section of ENY and transported the mom to Brookdale Hospital without incident. It is a little after 0130 hrs now, slowly perusing the dark and quiet streets I notice a glow out of the corner of my eye as we cross over Glenmore Avenue, a few blocks down a van is completely ablaze and there is no fire apparatus there yet, the fire will provide us a little entertainment while the neighborhood seems quiet  I drive the ambulance toward the fire and park a block away awaiting the arrival of FDNY. The van fire is on the corner of Glenmore Ave and Essex Street and going pretty good now, lighting up the dark sky...an engine whisks past us to the scene as my partner and I “buff”  the fire from a block away.

I am watching the troops extinguish the van fire, sort or zoning out...when out of nowhere a police sector car comes to a screeching halt inches from my door and opened window...startled, I almost jumped out of my skin...the police officer on the passenger side sticks his head out of the window of his RMP and excitedly spits out that two people have been shot a few blocks behind us on Shepherd Avenue…”Got it!”, I flip the two toggle switches for emergency lights, one lights the clear gumball with a red and white lights on the roof, the other the two front red lights on the ambulance patient cabin along with the two lights on the rear of the rig. There are no warning lights on the side of the rig. I don’t bother to make a U-turn, I back the rig up the one short block and drive down Shepherd Avenue for two blocks while my partner calls in the “verbal” to EMS communications... there are two male victims lying in the middle of the street, both appear to be about 20 years old. One victim has been shot in the left shoulder and the other one has been shot in the head and hip. Since Joe is the “tech” this tour, he takes the head shot victim and I work on the other shoulder gunshot victim. My victim is conscious but the other guy not doing to well. We both work feverishly on both victims and in short order able to stabilize our respective victims quickly, with their wounds wrapped we apply oxygen to the head shot victim. I sit my victim on one of the benches in the back of the bus, and we pull the stretcher out for the second victim, get him loaded for the ride to Brookdale Hospital a couple of miles away.  I notify the EMS dispatcher by radio that we are bringing in two gunshot victims to Brookdale Hospital with one critical. Linden Boulevard is empty during this time of the morning and I make good time. Upon our arrival as I back the bus up to the emergency room ramp there is a small cadre of doctors and nurses at the ambulance emergency door. The Hospital team takes over and rushes our gunshot victims to the emergency department. Meanwhile Joe and I go about finishing our paperwork and restocking our supplies. A nurse walks by, tells us the headshot victim has died.

Sometime later in the night, we ran into the same cop who screeched up to my door,  I told him the victim died. He told us the two victims had just stolen the van, set it on fire and was shot running away from it...Welcome to Dodge!

Hope you enjoyed, Thanks for reading.   KMG-365


Liberty Outpost Garage, without the awning was our station.



One of three Ambulances operated from Liberty Outpost during day tours. Midnight to 8 am, sometimes only one.




Random entry from my notepad.  This is page 69, dated 2/24/79 a Saturday morning; notice the jobs; 2 stabbings at the 75 Pct, cardiac, man shot, another stabbing, collision, unconscious, chest pains, another collision, another cardiac and the last job an attempted suicide. 5 transports= 41 is Brookdale Hospital, 48 is Kings County Hospital. I have 130 pages of documented EMS jobs. 
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 07:37:05 AM by JohnnyGage »

Offline nfd2004

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #200 on: August 05, 2019, 08:53:14 AM »
‘GORY’  DAYS; Preamble

Sometime back in the spring of 1978 I filled out an application for NYC Emergency Medical Services Health and Hospital Corp as an “Ambulance Corpsman”, an Emergency Medical Technician. I was hired that summer and assigned to the Liberty Outpost in East New York, Brooklyn. The NYC EMS was operated solely by Health and Hospitals (H&H) and not affiliated with the FDNY at that time. I worked for NYC EMS thirteen months before my next appointment  as a firefighter for the Washington DC Fire Department. But... BIG BUT!...I’m amazed at what I witnessed and experienced... to this day the memories still seem a surreal mix of fact and fantasy. Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to take meticulous notes** when I got in the field, and if I did not write these notes in my own handwriting, I would doubt myself.

You have read on these forums exciting and stirring recollections from the FDNY and NYPD  “War Years”. I hope to give you a small inside scoop...the skinny... of a NYC Health and Hospitals Corpsman's point of view from the back of the ambulance, or what New York City Cops and Fireman call; “the Bus” during that turbulent period.

Caveat; Even though the above title is expressive, I’ll have to reserve a handful of anecdotes that even within the description would be to ugly and revealing...But, stay tuned... I have quite a few intriguing occurrences to which I made notes of and I think you will find very amusing.

(**Notes. I was told very early on from my EMS Supervisor that I should keep notes, just in case I would have to go to court. I bought a green pocket size 3x5” 100 page spiral notepad. The pad has sixteen lines per page. With the exception of allowing one space between each tour I worked, I compiled over 130 front and back pages of “job” entries with a small note of any unusual circumstances pertaining to that job. Each tour, I listed the date, time, weather and my partner. Below that entry would be the time, address, and disposition of the run. The date of my last entry was 8/1/79)

                                                                   **********

I should also point out that 69Mets Garrett and I shared a midnight-eight tour at Liberty Outpost together in a bus on Saturday, July 21, 1979. Garrett and I responded to six jobs; a collision, 2 different stabbings, an OBS maternity, sick and injured call. All logged into my notepad!

Memorymaster has a history with EMS. I invite Garrett and Charlie to jump in with some of their stories! It will make for some very compelling reading from a different time and service. Hope you enjoy!





 Dan, I THANK YOU for introducing the guys to your days of working within the NYC EMS Health and Hospitals before the days of the FDNY/EMS merger.

 Without a doubt these NYC War Years Hero's saved thousands of lives every single day. Yet they were NEVER recognized for the work they did. Just as the FDNY and NYPD was overwhelmed during those 1970s and 1980s, so TRUE was also the NYC EMS.

 I would see those ambulances going by and at so many calls. Very often the conversation between myself and other fire buffs would be; "What a THANKLESS JOB THAT IS". Many of us were also firefighter/EMTs and could relate in our own very small way, of what it must be like to ride and work those NYC Health and Hospital "BUSES". Seeing those ambulances in the street was like seeing a taxi cab in some of our smaller cities these days. They just pass by with no concerns from the population.

 I remember doing my fire buffing thing back in the early 80s and myself and another firefighter/EMT were hanging out around Clay/172 St (?) in the Bronx. Both myself and my buddy had just finished taking our first EMT class as we were told it was part of our job requirement as newly hired Probie Firefighters. So everything was fresh in our minds. Airway, Breathing, Circulation, then the secondary body survey. As we are sitting there, a civilian standing on the corner drops to the ground. My buddy says to me; "Willy, the guy across the street just dropped, we got to go check him out". As we go over to check him, he does seem to be breathing, but we don't have a clue what's wrong.

 As luck would have it, a NYPD car pulls up. We tell the cops to call an ambulance and that we are Firefighters/EMTs from Connecticut. The cops call and they tell us it's a one hour delay for the bus. Then they open the back door of the police car and they tell us, put him in the back and we'll take him up to Bronx Lebonon Hospital, which is only a few blocks away. So myself and the other guy load him in and off they go. No vitals taken, no oxygen given, just get him up there. We wondered if he'd be okay or not.

 After it was over we thought about how different things were in most cities. Even in Connecticut's largest cities like Bridgeport, Hartford or New Haven you could get an ambulance to transport a guy like this to the hospital without having a One Hour delay. A few weeks later we are back down there buffing from the same corner. Standing on that same corner is the same guy who probably had no idea of what had happened only a few weeks ago. So we were glad to see he was okay.

 A few years ago, I got to meet "69METS", aka Garrett L., while in Florida where he lives now. He was a part of that NYC EMS, and later became a firefighter in the FDNY like Dan, aka "JohnnyGage", who I also have met and consider a good friend.

 I have also been in contact with "memorymaster", aka Charlie T., who became a Lt within that NYC Health and Hospitals EMS, later merging into the FDNY/EMS. Take my word for it, Charlie has quite a resume and there is no doubt "he has seen it all".

 Also, before this site owner Tommy Bendick became a firefighter in NYC, "he also worked with the NYC Health and Hospitals EMS".

 These days we have guys like "Lebby", aka Phil D., and John Bendick's (site administrator), grandson, John T., out there saving lives just as those before them have. They are the Life Saviors of todays FDNY/EMS. We ALL APPRECIATE the Job "YOU" Do. Thank you guys and all your other Brother and Sister members of the FDNY/EMS as well. YOU are a part of the VERY BEST in OUR Society Today.

 And now we take you back to the old NYC EMS days of the Webster Outpost located on Webster Ave, I think around 165th St in the Bronx. It is no longer there, but these are some of their stories. 

 This CBS Special was made in 1986 and it was called "The Lifesavers", filmed from that very busy NYC EMS station called "The Webster Outpost". The video runs about 20 minutes.

  
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 09:04:42 AM by nfd2004 »

Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #201 on: August 06, 2019, 07:44:15 AM »
                                        ★★★★SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT★★★★

I would like to share with my friends this special day today: AUGUST 6... Today is my 40th Anniversary of being sworn into the Washington DC Fire Department in 1979, where it all started, the dawn of "Glory Days"...it is also the same day, three years later that I resigned from the DCFD AND hired by the FDNY in 1982. In addition, August 6, 2002 I had to retire from the FDNY...

Below is my graduation photo from DCFD proby school with my lifelong friend Phil. Phil and I played little league baseball together, joined the Explorer program at our hometown Fire Department, joined the volunteer fire department together, took fire dept entrance exams together and was hired together in the DCFD. The photo is "Uncle" Jack (FDNY), my dad, JohnnyGage, Brother Phil and his dad. Thanks for allowing me to share this special day with my friends at NYCFIRE.NET!


« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 08:49:43 AM by JohnnyGage »

Online 68jk09

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #202 on: August 06, 2019, 11:44:13 AM »
^^^^^ Hope you have an enjoyable Aug. 6th today in 2019.

Offline memory master

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #203 on: August 06, 2019, 12:39:01 PM »
Dan, you don't look a day older from that photo was taken. Be well my friend and be safe.

Offline entropychaser

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #204 on: August 06, 2019, 01:45:49 PM »
Hal Bruno (the late national political correspondent for ABC News and Firehouse Magazine columnist) was a big DCFD buff. DCFD Radio was always 'on' in his office at the ABC News Bureau on Desales Street. He told me twenty odd years ago that DCFD was a great department brought low by chiefs brought in from outside the department. Tellingly, it is now DC FEMS.

Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #205 on: August 09, 2019, 07:37:48 PM »
GORY DAYS; Part 2
Ambulance Corpsman

Toward the end of the Summer of 1978 I was hired by NYC EMS Health and Hospitals as an “Ambulance Corpsman”. I attended an orientation class and an EMT refresher course at the EMS Headquarters in Maspeth Queens with a small group of new hires. I was given a small envelope with a silver badge inside, number 2388 and my salary was 11k plus an extra 1k for night differential. The Corpsman program was relatively new. Prior to the Corpsman program, NYC EMS service was provided by a driver that was hired from the federally sponsored “Model City Program” and was known as a “Motor Vehicle Operator” or simply, MVO. The MVO wore a blue uniform a different patch and had no training or background for treating victims, his only responsibility was to get the ambulance, er “bus” to the scene. The guy riding shotgun was called a “Tech”, he was an Emergency Medical Technician, the person who was responsible to treat the victims...the tech wore white jacket, white shirt and white pants with the same patch as the MVO. He did not drive as his sole responsibility was to treat the victim. 

The Corpsman would be cross trained to do both EMS aspects, operate the “bus” and treat victims. The Corpsman had a distinct uniform; a light green shirt, with a half moon orange patch on the left shoulder, my silver badge over my left pocket and in my left shirt pocket I carried a small penlight that I bought myself to check pupils. On my left collar I wore a silver lettered “EMT” collar brass, and a silver caduceus with “EMT” on the right. I had dark green slacks with the same light green color stripe down the leg. In the winter I wore the shiny green coat with the option of a fur collar. Each tour I carried a large three cell battery flashlight, a pen light and a holster attached to my belt which contained a pair of surgical scissors and a set of regular medical scissors complete with a large red plastic bite stick.

Upon our “graduation” which really was not a graduation, I was given an empty black tech bag**, that actually looked like a wide briefcase similar to what lawyers carried transporting files back and forth to court. Inside was an orange colored stethoscope with a matching orange blood pressure cuff, a yoke for an oxygen cylinder and a maternity “OBS” kit. Oh yeah, a yellow hard hat with EMS stenciled in red on the side to protect my coconut.

(** The black tech bag was clumsy and inconvenient as every roll of gauze, sterile gauze pads of various sizes, airways, adhesive tape, etc all got jumbled up and tossed around in the bag, nothing remained orderly. It was frustrating to try and find anything you are looking for, especially when it had to be done quickly. Also the black bag was dicey, as the local clientele often thought drugs were carried in the bag. For those reasons, I bought a large metal fishing tackle box from Morsan’s Outdoor Store. I stocked the body of the tackle box with two boxes of 100 4x4 sterile gauze pads and a few large trauma pads, the double pull out tray holder had different size stretch gauze to wrap the wound(s) and three tourniquets with clamps.




I was assigned to Liberty Outpost in the East New York (ENY) section of Brooklyn, on the midnight to eight in the morning shift...Now, growing up on Long Island I had no idea where ENY was, I knew Canarsie and I knew parts of the South Bronx, but I was not sure where this ENY was until I checked out the good ol’ Hagstrom map... “Oh, I see”...not too far from Canarsie actually. As I recalled Canarsie was a nice neighborhood back then so I imagined ENY would be likewise since the communities were not too far apart... This 21 year old Long Island kid was in for a rude awakening!

The 75 Precinct was in the middle of ENY. The “75” was one of the most high-crime areas in NYC, their motto during the 70’s was taken from 1010 WINS News Radio script that said, “You Give Us Twenty-Two minutes, We’ll Give You the World”...except in the “75” the officers twisted the motto; “You Give Us Twenty-Two Minutes, We’ll Give You a Homicide”...ENY struggled with violent crime and back then won a citywide reputation for violence and death. ENY was often referred to as “the Killing Fields” and averaged over 100 murders a year making the precinct one of the deadliest. The neighborhood struggled with severe poverty and led the city in robberies. The 1977 Blackout destroyed many businesses in the community that never recovered and left scars and burned out shells. A Police source once stated that “Gunfire erupted so frequently they didn’t even bother responding to the sound unless someone was hit”. ENY had a “Wild West” atmosphere.

ENY is just about 2 square miles and is bordered by Queens. Four subway lines and the Long Island Railroad traverses through ENY with plenty of stations in between. Major roads intersect and  pass through; the heavily traveled Belt Parkway, Linden Blvd, Pitkin Avenue, Sutter Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, and Fulton Streets are major east west thoroughfares. The Conduit borders ENY on the eastern end while Pennsylvania Avenue dissects ENY that runs north and south from the Belt Parkway to Broadway and the Interboro Parkway... When I was a kid and my parents would return every weekend to Canarsie, our dad would take Pennsylvania Avenue as a shortcut, we called it the “bumpy road”. At the time Starret City was not built and Pennsylvania Avenue dissected high cattails that ran the length of both sides of the Avenue and due to harsh weather, Pennsylvania Avenue had these huge dips and swells that our family car would glide over like a rollercoaster giving us kids a charge, and of course, there was no such thing as wearing seat belts back then!... Later Starret city would be built on the marshland. ENY also featured a huge smelly dump on the southside of the Belt Parkway, that us kids would call “Poopeyville”.  We knew we were getting close to that roller coaster ride when we started smelling “Poopeyville” traveling west along the Belt Pkwy.

ENY is served by the FDNY 15th Division with historically consistent busy fire companies;  Ladder 175, Engine 332 and 236 are single housed units in the northern end. Engine 290 and Ladder 103 the western front and Engine 225 with Ladder 107 stationed in the southeast corner of ENY. The 75 PCT is almost directly in the hub.

I am assigned to Liberty Outpost with another Corpsman, that pain in the as Joe as I mentioned in the previous article. Our “station” which is referred to as “Outpost” and more like a garage is actually a one story converted garage at the corner of Liberty Street and Van Siclen St. It is large enough to hold three ambulances and our private vehicles. During the day and afternoon two ambulances are scheduled to be in service, the third bus is known as the “Throop” bus that will service the Bushwick area. On the “graveyard” shift, there are sometimes two buses covering ENY and many times due to manpower shortage, only one. I will be assigned to the graveyard shift after my one week “on the street” orientation. Ironically, just next door to our unmarked garage is a funeral parlor, they are always busy.

ORIENTATION:

During my first week I am riding with a veteran female Corpsman who will be training me in street sense EMS, her name is Barbara and she could be the twin sister of Diana Ross. She is very kind, very patient and very experienced. One of our first jobs is to respond to a “DOA”, the PD is on scene of a “DOA” (our code 10-83) at a residence on Wyona Street, not too far from the Outpost. In NYC, a NYC EMT can “pronounce” a victim as DOA and is often called upon by the NYPD to do so before a body is removed. This will be the first time of many that I will have to pronounce someone dead. Barbara and I head over to the address, I am the tech and we proceed into the house where there is a middle aged gentleman unconscious lying on the living room sofa. Family members are standing nearby in the kitchen and two police officers are near the victim. My heart is beating rapidly, all eyes are on me. The body is not cold or stiff, the victim must have just passed away not too long ago. I feel for a pulse, and I place my stethoscope over his bare chest...I think I can hear a faint beat. I gradually stand up so as not to alarm anyone, and ask Barbara to come into the next room so that I can tell her of my observations. She assures me that the victim is deceased, she reassures me that the beating I hear is my blood pressure banging in my ears. She also gives me this streetwise tip that I will use over and over again...she tells me to nonchalantly and gently touch the eyeball, as this is the last muscle reflex to leave the body. If the eyelid does not flitter, you can be assured the victim is 10-83. I go back and the eyeball does not flitter, I turn to the family and give my condolences, and then turn to the police officer with his pad open, I state; “DOA, Badge 2388”.

Next; DOA, where inches mattered.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!   KMG-365




Pitkin Avenue during the 1977 Blackout



75 PCT, Home to the "Killing Fields"
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 07:51:41 PM by JohnnyGage »

Offline memory master

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #206 on: August 10, 2019, 11:39:49 AM »
Dan, we used to call the black bag "the Fuller Brush salesman's kit."

Offline entropychaser

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #207 on: August 13, 2019, 09:40:57 AM »
Kevin Tighe is 75 today.

Offline nfd2004

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #208 on: August 13, 2019, 10:10:22 AM »
Dan, THANK YOU for all those GREAT STORIES and EXCELLENT PHOTOS of your early riding days with some of the busiest companies of the FDNY. Of course during my buffing days of the Bronx, I'm sure that we were at a few of the same jobs together. 

 Reading these stories takes me back to those very busy days of chasing the rigs of E88/L38, E82/L31, E45/L58, and some of those other very busy companies throughout the area. It was an education that you couldn't get from a book.

 I look forward to reading about your EMS days coming up. I know at the time it was the NYC EMS before the merge into the FDNY. Like all of the city's services, they were stretched to the breaking point. It was almost impossible to get an ambulance due to the overwhelming number of calls going on. ETA's for EMS units of One Hour were not uncommon due the staggering number of incidents going on.

 Johnny, I'd like to go back to A Glory Day memory of mine that I would like to share with the members here. It certainly wasn't the FDNY but it was in the kitchen of the firehouse that I once worked in around June/July, 1975.

 I was a newly hired Probie and young Willy D is working a Day tour at the old fire headquarters on Chestnut St in Norwich, Ct. On this particular day, Willy D gets up a little late but still makes it in time for the 07:00 hours Day Shift to begin. In his hurry, he has no time to eat breakfast so in just a little while, "he's kind of hungry".

 The afternoon meal at the firehouse is going to be a pasta/sauce dinner, along with Italian bread/butter etc. The smell of that sauce cooking fills the entire second floor.

 But being the junior man and new Probie Firefighter with just a couple of weeks on, I know that I will be the last guy to sit down. My father, a Bridgeport (Ct)Firefighter at the time told me, "that's just the way it is". It was also before the firehouse had a dish washer and he told me as Probie, "it will be your job to clean those pots and pans after the meal".

 I finally get to dig in and sit down. I didn't take too much because I didn't think it was my place to do that. As I sit down, there is plenty left over. But I figure it's for the other guys, not for me. But I'm still hungry after eating my portion. Then one of the guys tells me: "if you want more, help yourself". That was just what I wanted to hear, so I load up again, and I think again.

 All the guys are pretty much still sitting around the table as I put down a couple more platefuls. Then another guy says to me; "You got some potential". I thought he meant about being a good fireman (firefighter). He said: "I'm betting on you". I later learned he was referring to "when it comes to an eating contest". Telling me I had some potential had NOTHING to do with being a good fireman. BUT, he was right, "I did win a lot of firehouse eating contest". I didn't disappoint the guys too many times.

 We now move the clock about 44 years ahead. My brother (also a retired firefighter) and I are at our favorite local restaurant. The waitress is also the sister of one of the current active firefighters, but we hadn't seen her in a long time. But she remembers us from one of our previous visits. She also remembered what I ordered. A chicken palm dinner that is HUGE in size. She was right, that's exactly what I ordered several months ago.

 I was amazed that she had remembered that, so I asked her, "how did you remember that" ? She says to me: "I remember that because NOBODY else has ever been able to finish the entire dinner and YOU DID".

 Well, I guess as they say: "Some things NEVER change". And I got to tell you, "that is one dinner that you sure won't walk away from hungry".

 THANK YOU GUYS. We give it back to "JohnnyGage" to continue with his great stories of "GLORY DAYS" as he has just introduced us to the stories of working the streets in the crime ridden area known as East New York in Brooklyn, during his days with the New York City Health and Hospitals EMS. 

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #209 on: August 13, 2019, 02:11:45 PM »
I know this is mostly about other facets of FD ops but Willy has peaked "my appetite" with his FH food story.....i am generally not an exceptionally big eater but i will relate a story from yesteryear....we got a new FF in R*2 ...he was a young fellow who came from a nearby "rival" Busy Truck.... he was of course very eager to become accepted & on one of his early days there he volunteered to make lunch..... the menu was "Monte Christo" sandwiches which half of us did not even know what they were....he explained that each one was 3 slices of french toast bread with swiss cheese & turkey & ham ? between the layers then the thing was heated & covered with powdered sugar....it took a little work to make it ...i ate my 1st one & just as he was about to sit down for his first one i asked for another...he said "well in my old house no one could ever eat two....of course i had to reply "this is not your old house i want another"....he gave me the one he had ready for himself & went back to the stove...i ate it & as he was coming back with his first one again i said "let me have another"....(i really did not want another but since he had said nobody could eat two ).... he said you can't eat three...i said this is R*2 not LAD*1XX...give a third....he said if you can eat three i will pay for your meal....now i knew i was going to finish it & i did....1800 & the tour was over....driving home i was little uncomfortable...by dinner time i did not want to even sit at the table...by 2200 hrs i felt like my stomach was going to blast out of my body....these things were expanding exponentially....by midnight i went to bed as i was due back in the AM at the FH...got to the FH & after a few cups of Coffee i checked into "the head" & returned the remains.

 

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