Brave men and women answer the call: EMT wife shares thanks for emergency providers

When the alarm goes off at 3 o’clock in the morning, volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians answer the call. They roll out of bed, pull on their clothes and speed to the fire station.

It could be a heart attack, a car accident, a fire, or an overdose. They won’t know the full story until they get there.

It’s unpredictable and dangerous. But it’s also rewarding. Someone’s life could be saved.

This story is told from the person left in bed, not knowing where her partner is going or what he will face.

I remember a night when my husband answered the call. He was gone all night. I couldn’t reach him.

I paced the house and prayed for him and his coworkers. In the middle of the night, I finally called the fire station to inquire.

Jeff Quinlan teaches safety lessons to a classroom in Whiteland, Indiana.

As my heart pounded, I learned that there was a major barn fire. My husband survived the call, but his friend did not.

The man bravely entered the structure to help fight the fire. He was there to do his job. But fully involved fires are a wild force with a mind of their own.

The team of first responders stayed on site the entire night. I don’t know what they felt or how they dealt with the trauma.

But, from the comfort of home, my heart was broken for the entire family of the lost firefighter. It could have easily been my husband who never came home.

But he came home, his body tired and smelling like smoke. His shoulders were heavy. That night changed us both.

Emergency responders risk their life every single day to help others. They are resilient, caring and calm in the face of fear.

Patrick Quinlan, 4, dresses up as a fireman for Halloween.

Sometimes they save lives. Sometimes, it’s too late.

They comfort a victim in their final moments.

They are strong. They are a family. They give our communities hope.

They are there for more than just the traumatic accidents.

On Halloween, they pass out candy to trick-or-treaters. They visit classrooms to teach children about fire safety. They host fundraisers for communities.

It’s a labor of love.

From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank the men and women who answer the call. To the volunteers who aren’t paid and the professionals who aren’t paid nearly enough for their work, thank you.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor