At the ever entertaining dinner table discussion a little while back, between false building alarms and rides to the ER for a cough, one of the quieter members made the following comment.

“Paramedics don’t belong in the Fire Service because blue collar and white collar never mix well.”

I smiled and shrugged it off as the regurgitated ramblings of a medic hater, but it stuck in my mind.
Are paramedics white collar? Does that mean anything?
Of course many systems are looking for ways to cut costs and downgrading fire response from ALS to BLS does save money. The same way stopping your car insurance policy saves you money, but all anyone cares about these days is the bottom line, not the value in a service.

The rift between BLS and ALS is bigger in some places than others, I recognize that, but the more I thought about this guy’s comment, the more it started to eat away at me.

Was it good or bad that he thought of me as white collar? I pulled out the entire supply side to test hose too. I geared up and checked the second floor for extension, same as him, but my special ability to handle the 85%+ of our call volume makes me different in his mind.

And I realized this morning, it should.

He should be worried that I can do my job AND his job. He can only do his.

We tried to be one big family over the last 40 years and in most palces it’s working OK so far, but I think it will be these budget woes that will drive a giant spike into our systems and have those who fear being eliminated nervous.
We are emerging as a profession trapped within a trade. Can we, as medical providers, remain in this pre-existing delivery model, or will we all be system status before long?

White collar paramedics and blue collar firefighters? I want us all to be successful professionals who go home safe in the morning. I’m not here for glory, or attention or to break stuff with a big tool. I want to make things better from the bottom up.
“What a waste of time, they’ll never change anything” I was told this morning while typing up one of the many changes I propose.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” I responded.
“Whatever. Fuckin’ Medics, acting all smart.”

What do you think? Is this perceived divide alive where you are?

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