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Behind Saving Lives: An inside look into the life of paramedics

Photo provided by staff.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 9:00pm

You see them all the time. They're the first on scene of an emergency. They save lives. They're East Baton Rouge first responders, but many of us don't really know what goes on behind the scenes like the chaos and the sacrifices.

The chaotic sound of sirens are what you usually hear before you see them coming down the road.

Joshua Howley and Trevor Carville don't even notice the siren. It's all part of being a paramedic and so is dealing with life and death situations every day.

"You don't know what you're going to see," Joshua said. "You don't know what kind of calls you're going to get or how busy you're going to be or where you're going to go."

So I went along for the ride and their day starts pretty early.

"People call me crazy, but I get up at three in the morning, and I go to the gym," Trevor said. "I come back, shower, and get ready for work."

The long days, twelve-hour days, and some times they're just waiting around for a call, but that doesn't usually last long.

I only stayed in the EMS truck for a couple of hours, but Trevor and Joshua spend most of their day in there, nearly ten hours a day to be exact.

"You're going to work seven out of 14 days," Trevor explained. "You're going to work 14 out of 28. So essentially you work every day for six months."

But that's nothing new for these guys.

"Paramedic training was pretty rough," Trevor said. "It was two years of school and one year, and we went from 8:00 to 5:00 every day."

They all train the same, but each one comes from a different place. For Trevor, it was a path to becoming a doctor.

"I guess I should see if I can handle this or not," Trevor admitted. "I went in and found out I really enjoy it. I function well under pressure, and I've been having a great time since."

Joshua said he's worked all kinds of jobs before he finally found his true calling.

"In the past 16 years, I've probably had about 10 or 12 different jobs," Joshua admitted. "I've had a lot of different experiences, and I think I like this because it's completely different."

Neither of them would have it any other way, but with a job like this, there are sacrifices.

"I've got a one-year-old daughter at home, and my better half is also a paramedic here, and we work the same shift side," Trevor said. "Christmas day, we had to spend it apart. I got to spend the day with my daughter and my family, and Jess had to go to work."

"I'd say the weekends," Joshua said. "Just every other weekend not being able to work, I end up missing out on a lot of family events."

It's not always glamorous either.

"We see projectile vomit, arterial bleeds, and pretty much any type of fluid that likes to paint the walls," Joshua explained.

It can be dangerous

"They can turn on you and become aggressive, whether it's the family or the patient," Trevor said.

"You kind of get a sixth sense about it. You can tell when someone's getting upset," Joshua said. "So you try to position yourself in a way that if they take a swing at you or they start to become violent, you can get out of the way."

But at the end of the day, to these two, it's all worth it.

"What you did made the difference in whether or not a person recovered, lived or died," Trevor said.

If you want to learn more about what goes into becoming a paramedic or if you have any questions, you can contact EBR EMS:

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