By Nyesha Stone
The sound of an ambulance’s sirens blare through the streets as they come to the rescue. Cars are supposed to immediately move out of the way and that doesn’t always happen, but somehow the ambulance usually makes it through. Living in the city, there’s no escaping those sounds and as much as people hear those sirens, most people don’t know who’s behind the wheel.
Some might assume they’re just ambulance drivers, but the correct term is Emergency Medical Technician, or EMT for short. Just like most skilled jobs, school is required and being an EMT is a skilled job. EMT’s work to keep their patient alive until they arrive at the hospital, and then it’s the nurses and doctor’s job to take it the rest of the way.
Tafarri Gordon and Jeremy Desotell were born in the same city, have the same career, but now live in two different cities. Gordon moved to Georgia with his mother six years ago, and after four years, he became an EMT in January 2017. He works at Grady hospital which is located right inside of Atlanta. Desotell still resides in Wisconsin in the village of Brown Deer and has been an EMT for four years. He works for Paratech Ambulance Services Inc. which is located a few minutes away from Milwaukee.
Both Gordon and Desotell will be advancing their careers by attending Paramedic school this fall.
Two different cities, two men, one job and lots of stories to tell—Gordon and Desotell never know what to expect once they enter their ambulances. One would think when someone calls for an ambulance it’s an emergency, yet most of Gordon and Desotell’s calls are for non-life threatening issues. Whether it’s a dire situation or not, EMTs must go to that patient and bring them to the hospital. Gordon and Desotell know most people don’t have basic first-aid knowledge, so they can’t be upset with the patient for calling them for an issue that could be handled at home.
Being an EMT means you have “to sleep when you can [and] eat when you can,” said Gordon. There have been many times Gordon has been in line waiting on his food, but never got the chance to actually obtain his food because he received a call to go help someone. Desotell had to train himself to withstand staying awake for 24-hour shifts. He said It was not easy, but it was worth it because he loves his career.
“The amount of people we help is insane,” said Desotell.
Being in the heart of Atlanta, where the city is overpopulated and there’s a car accident every day, it’s no surprise what Gordon experienced on one of his 13-hour shifts. He received a call that a man was walking on the highway, and had been ran over three times by three cars. When Gordon arrived on the scene, separated body parts were lying on different areas of the highway. At that point, there was nothing Gordon could do. In any serious situation, Gordon is never nervous or panicked because one can’t be if they are in the medical field.
“You kinda don’t think about it…you just think about what you can do for the patient,” said Gordon. Desotell said he has seen so many crazy things that it was hard for him to just pick one, so he didn’t. So many incidents happen in one workday for these two men, and Gordon occasionally wonders if people ever think about what he has just went through when they see him walking down the street in his uniform. Gordon and Desotell have never met one another, but they have so much in common. From the 414 to helping save lives, these two men love the life of an EMT.