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                         Attrition
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The Story Unfolds...

Season Six, Episode Forty One..

  Attrition  

Debut Launch: January 1st, 2007.

**************************************************
From: "Roxy Dee" <laterrapincabesa@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 23:41:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject:  That Certain "Flare"~~

"Man, this is the best idea you've had all day." said Johnny, letting
loose a sigh of pure displaced aggression as he inhaled his double
decker triple pickle cheeseburger.

"Huh. If my idea of eating now's the only one you've liked today,
we're in for some very serious trouble." Roy said sucking on his
straw stabbed soda angrily in reply.

"I don't figure." Johnny frowned.

"We haven't had a run all morning. We've...just been.. tooling around,
waiting for something exciting to happen." Roy insisted.

"Don't we always?" Johnny asked sarcastically, gesturing the obvious
with a nod at the still turned on HT sitting at the ready in front
of them on top of their paint peeling, bleached out picnic table.

Roy rolled his eyes and let loose a longish complaint. DeSoto took a
deep breath. "All we have on the agenda for today, barring any
unexpected emergency calls, is one school tour, the yearly vehicle
maintenance checks on the squad and engine, and a date with
Dr. Brackett at his come one, come all semi-annual paramedic
to doctor brainstorming meeting at Rampart. So why are you
bristling every spine at me and the rest of the guys today? You've
made us all feel like it's suddenly the end of the world today."

His focus of concern was one that Johnny had already dealt with
mentally several hours ago. "So,.." mumbled Gage with hungrily chewing,
overstuffed burger cheeks. "You just made it sound like a little assigned
P.R. sidework's suddenly the purest torture. I thought you liked your job."
he said, eyeing up his partner a little askance.

"I could ask the same thing of you, pal. My ear's are still blistering from
the last time you started venting out your lips. You've been contradicting
anything and everything I've tried to bring up into friendly conversation
ever since we rolled out of bed for roll call at five a.m... " DeSoto told him,
brandishing a steaming french fry. "....LAST Thursday." he glared.

"I have not." frowned Johnny, defending himself.

"See? There you go again!" Roy snorted in frustration. "O.K., come on,
let's go. If we're going to enjoy any of the time that's left during our
new unofficial lunch hour, it's gonna be sooner rather than later."

"Wait a minute. Where are we going?" Johnny asked, scooping up his
food and two pop cups as he hastily kept up with his partner's fast
retreat back to the rescue squad. He already had their full set of keys
out.

"I think I finally figured out the one place that I can take ya that'll put that
smile, that I can only dimly recall appearing on your face once for a brief
second since the beginning of summer, back where it belongs." Roy said,
no nonsense while he started the ignition sharply. "Now put your
helmet on so I can leave."

Johnny glared at him. "Geesh, all right already. I'm set." he said,
abandoning his still steaming meal into its paper bag in between his
shoes with one hand while he shoved his helmet on with the other.

"Thank you." Roy groused, as he took off from the fast food stand's
emergency vehicle parking space with a squeal that rubbed the curb.

Whining, Henry the dog awoke and lifted his head from the seat that
stretched between the paramedics when Roy's irritated, lurchy
driving caused the early vestiges of car sickness to begin rising
in the pit of his stomach.

"Sorry, boy." apologized DeSoto, reaching a hand over to Henry's head
to scratch it affectionately. "I guess I must be having a bad day because
someone else near me seems to be having one, too."

"Speak for yourself." Gage said with a sour face.

"I thought I already WAS." Roy shot right back without taking
his eyes off the road.

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The two paramedics sat in stony silence for a whole five minutes.
Only once did Roy "cheat" and flick on the squad's reds to scatter
a pack of slow drivers who seemed not to be noticing the green
light hanging in front of their noses.

Soon, DeSoto took a right turn, heading into sunlight.

"Is this it?!" Johnny demanded with a snarl, jerking his thumb
out the passenger side window at something very large in front
of them.

Roy sneezed when the tang of sea salt finally did a number on his
sinuses. "Yeah." he replied tersely. "I hope you're satisfied. Because
it's my absolute last desperate ditch effort trying to be nice to ya, for
the rest of the shift."

"Well, far out." Johnny suddenly beamed, wide eyed and happy. "I had
no idea you had THIS up your sleeve."

"Had what up my sleeve?"

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Gage looked at Roy as if DeSoto was having a sudden stroke.
"A lunch trip bringing Henry to the ocean. You did remember that
Stephanie's on duty the same schedule as us, right?"

"Who's Stephanie?!" Roy roared, doubly puzzled by Johnny's abruptly
changed mood and line of thought. Roy's pot was definitely simmering
over the brim. And then some.

"My current "chick" as Chet would put it if he was here." Johnny sighed,
happily leaning an elbow out the open window frame. He turned
into the sharpish hot breeze ruffling his hair as he sniffed the wonderfully
cooling humid air that just was beginning to blow into the squad.

Roy's mouth flopped open. "Oh." he said, simply. Then he started gaping
as he tried to put two and two together. "Is she a firefighter or something?"
he finally asked, running the locations of the county's sister stations
that he knew were along their current route through his head.

"No." Gage said, adding nothing more. He just went on smiling stupidly.

DeSoto made a noise of disgust when he realized that Johnny was in
love. "Oh, so that explains it. You're suffering from some kind of
separation anxiety being away from her." he diagnosed.

"I am not." Johnny frowned indignantly at Roy.

"Sure you are. I've seen you this way a couple of times before."

"With who?" Gage denied.

"With Valerie, the kids-from-h*ll mom we met when she got hit by
a car right in front of us for one......" he started to tick off on a couple
of fingers.

"Oh, I'm over her completely, Roy. For Pete's sake, she's more suited
for.. for.. Craig Brice than me, if you ask me.." Gage frowned, pausing
at his sudden double pronoun delivery.

Both men sucked in bated breaths, thinking about it. Then both just as
suddenly shook their heads in dismissal and pushed it away.

"Pull over right there in that parking lot. I think I see her." Johnny said
excitedly. He pulled his helmet off. "Hey, Stephanie!" he called out,
sticking an eager head through the squad's side window. He started to wave.

Roy peered over their dashboard at the scene in front of them and screwed
up his eyebrows in confusion. He noticed nothing but a pair of sunbathing
moms watching a toddler of someone's frolicking in the shallows on the beach.

Gage called out again, earning an irritated over-the-shoulder glance from
both the women wearing bikinis.

"Pervert.." one of them hissed. Then the two of them turned back around
and they began ignoring the rescue squad parked directly behind them on
the concrete causeway edging the beach.

Johnny was oblivious.

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Coughing absently, Roy stopped trying to figure it out. He simply opened
his driver's door and watched as Henry slipped off his lap to land with a
soft plish onto the sandy beach that was slowly heating underneath them.
"There you go, Henry. Have fun. You got five minutes. We'll hit the horn
if we get a run." he promised.

"No, Henry! Not that way, ya stupid mutt. She's over there.." Johnny called
out to their station dog. Henry ignored him, plopping down under a salted
piece of driftwood. Already, his tongue was lolling out and panting from the
heat of the day. Gage made a noise of disbelief. "And Cap says he's the best
for interacting with all the school kids? I'm beginning to wonder."

"Tell you what. Next time I have to make a choice for community ed detail,
I'll go recruit Boot and Bonnie. They'll be a good match for you. All three
of ya are disgustingly shaggy." DeSoto snapped.

"Hmph.." Johnny, said, only half paying attention to Roy. His eyes were
focused not on all the bikinis flocking around them on the beach, but
towards a lone manned lifeguard tower. "Ah, ha. I knew it. This one's hers."
he celebrated. "Hey Steph!" he finally improvised using the squad's
mini megaphone he grabbed out from the glove compartment. "You got
a minute?" he boomed out into the air.

To Roy's amazement, the yellow L.A. County Beaches Rescue Truck
idling in the sun started into motion towards them from where it was
parked with buried tires in the sand at the base of the light blue
painted wooden life guard tower.

"You rang?" said an attractive lifeguard with long, glowing brown hair as
she pulled up next to Squad 51. "Why, hello Johnny. This is quite a
surprise. Did you come here to be nice to me?" she smiled sweetly.

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"Or gloat..?!" she snapped, her face suddenly shifting into an angry
coldness.

"Whaa - huh?" Johnny choked, stopping his pursing lips stretch out his
window trying to kiss her.

The woman in the red L.A. county swim suit and patch let loose.
"I found out about that bet you have running between Captain Thorpe
and your own Chief McConnikee. I can't believe you, you pathetic
hose jockey. What kind of paramedic are you who bets which agency
FAILS to pull the most victims out of trouble in a month? That's- that's- that's
sick, MISTER Gage, even for you." she glared, leaning back into her
driver's seat."For your own personal information, we saved seventy nine
people last week. Top THAT." she glared. "And that was fighting strong
rip tide currents, too. Not simply moving through thin air over land
with a weeny trickling little stream of water squirting out a hose in front
of you in defense against the elements. This is one bet, Johnathan
Roderick Gage, that you are going to LOSE. Goodbye forever." she
scintillated, falsely sweet, spinning her tires in the beach sand.  

Stephanie Holden, the Baywatch Lifeguard, indignantly returned her
truck to the foot of her nearby watch tower. She waved a red orange
rescue can at her partner still sitting in a sea facing director's chair to
show him all was well with them despite the visiting non-code-R pair
newly arrived from the fire department.

Johnny's face continued to gape like a fish. Then Gage began to steam
out both his ears around the edges. "Chet... I'm gonna kill him..." he
rumbled ominously.

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"Looks like we're not the only ones with the same brilliant
take-a-picnic-to-the-beach idea." DeSoto said into the heating
stillness inside the cab. "Look right over there." said Roy, pointing down
the beach to the north."Guess you're not gonna be the only one babe
watching during lunch today, Johnny."

A red Gran Torino with a white stripe was parked askew on top of a mat
of drying kelp in the sand off the parking lot. Its two blond and brunette
haired detectives had their windshield angled so that it had a
bird's eye view of both the bikini moms and the lifeguard tower's front.

Opening his mouth widely, Roy began to laugh until the tears ran down
his face in sheer rivulets.

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Roy felt a whole lot better. He was getting into teaching their school kids
all about fire prevention and safety. He also liked throwing in a healthy
dose of first aid training, too. There were plenty of skills that children
their age could handle very easily. Cold water for burns... The heimlich
maneuver for choking... Mouth to mouth for heart attacks and drowning...
::Good old Henry here's a great ambassador.:: Roy thought. ::I don't
know how we ever managed these demonstrations before without
having a station's dog for focusing their interest.:: he wondered.

Johnny was quiet, taking the physical demo part of things as he let Roy
do all the talking in front of their class. Gage was lighting a garbage
can on fire by rote, when it happened...
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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**************************************************
From: "Cory Anda" <andacory@hotmail.com>
Date: Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:00 am
Subject: Every Second Counts..


A little boy's voice piped up. "Say, Mr. Fireman?"

"Yeah?" Gage asked, standing ready with a fire extinguisher
for Roy's next rehearsed segment.

"Why do so many firefighters show up for a medical emergency?"
he asked intelligently.

Henry began barking at the garbage fire from where he was sitting
under a pile of girls' hands on the other side of the library classroom.

Johnny's eyes never left the trash can as Roy's voice droned on about
what would happen next in their demo. A piece of flaming char rose
up out of the wire basket and drifted up on heat currents only to land
on the carpeting at Gage's feet. He began to stamp on it to put it
out before the rug could catch on fire. "Uh, Roy? I think it's about time.."
he stage whispered. "This is getting kinda hot here." he hinted sotto
voce'.

Roy wasn't paying attention. He was displaying a hose nozzle and
lever to the front row, all of whom were boys, while he delivered the
how-to-put-out-a-fire speech.

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Another large apple sized ember floated up from the flames, this time
landing on Johnny's back to the horror of the school kids.

"Ow.. Roy.. I think I need your help here..." he said, whirling around
in a circle, first in one direction and then in another, trying to knock
the cinder off his uniform shirt and down into shoe range.

The school kids began to laugh at his antics.

"Hey, Roy. Pay attention! I'm burning up!"

"Say mister. Why don't you stop, drop and roll?" asked a nerdy
little girl wearing tape repaired glasses that were broken by the
nose.

The kids chortled when Johnny ignored her. Gage was beginning
to panic when the scent of cotton scorching started rising up from
between his shoulder blades.

Johnny's dancing only grew more desperate, and soon it became
incredibly funny to all the children and the one fire dog who were
watching in rivetted fascination. "Ouch! God D-- uh, I mean Gosh
darn it.. RoyYYY? Code red! Code--"

"Whaa?" DeSoto said, looking up for the first time from his
captivated audience, still in a half grin. "Ohmyg*d. Hold still."
he choked in surprise. Snatching up a fire tarp from their demonstration
table, he spun the blanket like a fisherman's surf net in the air until
it landed solidly on top of his partner. Then he tackled him to the floor.
Both paramedics fell heavily onto the rug in a jumble of arms and legs.
Then DeSoto rose up quickly to begin smothering the flames. "Are
you getting burned?" he said, slapping hands up and down Johnny's
back.

"NO.. Jeez, watch out for the trash can!" Gage said, pointing a couple
of fingers outside the muffling blanket. "It's flaring."

Roy vaulted over Johnny, picked up the fire extinguisher that
Johnny had dropped onto the floor like a sack of potatoes, and pulled
the pin on its handle.

"I can do that!" shouted an eager little girl who had most of Henry in her lap
.

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"Stay seated.." Roy shouted, yelling over the hissing vapors of the
fire retardant he was blasting out over the garbage can. The fog
began to spread out over the floor, covering the children like soup.

Hysterical laughter ensued as children began disappearing, one
by one beneath the mist.

Henry only began to bark louder at all the commotion.

Hearing his back sizzling stop, Johnny uncovered himself and shot
to his feet, still groping with both hands, still trying to reach behind
himself. "Roy..is it out?"

"What? The can? Yeah...."

"No, my back!"

"Turn around.." DeSoto ordered, re-aiming his nozzle in Johnny's direction.

"Oh, no! Don't get m---" Johnny sputtered as a rich plume of extinguishing
gas tented over him, coating his hair, skin, back and face with a thick
drifting flour of white, compression chilled gas.

The children jumped to their feet, laughing hysterically and pointing
as Johnny slowly exposed when the vapors surrounding him
began evaporating.

"Very funny.. Ha.ha.ha." Gage glowered to himself. He didn't even feel
Roy whirling him around to check out the hole burned in over his T-shirt.
"Some demo this is turning out to be." Johnny told him. "Next time, let's
use our usual newspaper instead of the school's typing paper.
It burns into heavier ash that probably won't float around so
inconveniently the next time we light up." he lectured Roy. Gage
re-shot into action when a stray ember started drifting towards a
little girl's bouncing curls. He snatched the air to catch it like a
football player fumbling the ball until it was out. "Ouch!.. That smarts
like the mother f--" he bit his lip, hard.

"No kidding." said the girl who had offered the putting-out-a-fire advice
a minute earlier. "Fire's hot, Mister Fireman. Aren't you supposed to know
about that kind of thing already?"

Johnny shot her a dirty look and began dusting off his hair to rid himself
of all the bright white extinguisher powder that was slowly subliming off
because of the room temperature of the air. Soon, all the white mist,
and condensate, were gone.

They had just settled the kids back into their viewing ring, sitting indian
style on the floor in front of them, when the teacher popped her head
back into the classroom. "How's it going, guys?" she asked.

"Just peachy. I think we're a real hit.." Gage growled at her.

Before she could react, Roy stepped in front of Johnny quickly.
"Uh,.. everything's under control. We've finished the fire demo part
and uh, we'll be doing show and tell of all our medical gear next."
he said lamely, thinking fast as he returned the pin back into the
handle of the frosted fire extinguisher he still held in both hands.
"Ouch, that's cold.." he said, dropping it. Miraculously, it stood upright
on the floor neatly by his feet. DeSoto smiled lamely.

The teacher substitute took one sniff at the smell of smothered paper
smoke in the air. "Hmmph.. Ok, I'll see you in about five minutes or so."
she said, looking at both firemen oddly. She especially looked at Johnny's
fire retardant sculpted hair. He was looking a bit like James Dean,
with the way it was plastered to his head. Hastily, Johnny combed it
back to normal with a couple of fingers. "Class, are you having fun yet?"
she asked, shrugging.

Roy and Johnny began wincing for the worst.

"YeahHHHH!" came the loud cheer from every child in the room.

"They're really great." said one over-excited little boy.

"Ok.. I'm going back to my office again.." the teacher said timidly,
reluctantly, pointing back down the school hallway. "Bye.."

She left her classroom doorway VERY slowly, one watchful eye
after the other.

Johnny and Roy and all the kids just waved at her, until she was
gone.

Then Roy got back down to business. "Ok, now where were we?"
he asked the students.

"You were gonna answer my question about firefighters.." said
the intelligent, but now cranky boy, due to the fact that he wasn't
able to speak loudly enough any more over the excited
chatter that was building up in the room.

"Oh, yeah, that's right. Why we send out so many firemen
to medical calls.." Gage said, getting into it at last. He coughed
once, for real, to rid his chest of the last of the garbage can
smoke and then he took over for his partner, who made an
immediate beeline for the water pitcher set out for them both
on the teacher's desk. Johnny suppressed a stab of jealousy
when he saw Roy down two full glasses in a sequence of
rapid swallows.

Gage cleared his own parched throat and looked at the boy.
"Ok, uh, I'll answer that. But first what's your name?"

"It's Jimmy."

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"Ok, Jimmy." said Gage expansively, rubbing his hands together
in deep thought. He kept track of Roy laying out their demo medical
gear boxes and equipment onto the floor so the children could get
a chance to see what they looked like a little better. "How do you
want me to answer that? Simple and easy, or the dictionary
definition?" he chuckled, thinking he was being clever in his humor.

The boy simply glared at him with his arms crossed. "I AM in
the fifth grade... What do you think?" challenged the boy.

"Dictionary definition it is.." Gage mumbled, his face struggling
to keep its professional firefighter paramedic smile. Then he
spoke up haltingly. "Ok..uh, you asked for it. heh." he said with
a dry mouth. He nodded gratefully to Roy when DeSoto finally
handed him a full glass of cold water. Johnny slammed it back
like a cowboy shooting shots of whiskey. "Thanks. I really
needed that." he said to Roy. "Ok..the reason why." he said,
plunking the empty glass back onto the teacher's desk.
"Ok, Jimmy, uh.. it's like this.." he said, flipping the teacher's
chair around so he could straddle the seat and lean his still
smoke sooty elbows onto its back support.
"We respond both an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic
Unit and Basic Life Support (BLS) Engine or Truck Company on all
life threatening emergencies.  This means that six personnel from the
Fire Department might enter your house, with at least two of those
personnel being firefighter/paramedics." Johnny elaborated, pointing
at both Roy and himself. "That's what we are. Uh, what we do inside
our fire department.." he said, then he broke off, forgetting what he was
going to say next.

"After that fire stunt, you still call yourselves real firefighters?!"
asked the cranky kid.

Roy, embarrassed, took over, giving Gage some cover in which to
recall his thoughts.

Johnny didn't protest. He just got off the chair and knelt down over
the med gear and started dragging out the items Roy began to
speak about while he talked.

DeSoto continued where Johnny had left off...
"In the event that cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, C.P.R.,
is needed, the paramedics wouldn't easily be available to provide
advanced life support, uh, that is, giving injections and inserting
breathing tubes,  if they were performing two person CPR
themselves. The typical division of labor during these types of
emergencies is usually as follows: One paramedic, the primary
one, performs advanced airway procedures such as intubation on
anyone not breathing. He gathers patient information, makes base
hospital contact, receives and gives medication orders, and
oversees all aspects of the ongoing and continuing patient care.
Are you all with me so far?" Roy asked the children.

"Uh huh.." they said, rivetted by DeSoto's story telling. Even
Henry was rapt.

"Ok." said Roy. "The secondary paramedic administers cardiac
defibrillation, uh, heart electrical shocks." he corrected. "And
he's the one to gain intravenous access using I.V.s so he can
administer medications. And he oversees how the C.P.R. is
going in order to make sure that it continues to be effective
enough for the patient during different phases of treatment.
Two BLS firefighters perform C.P.R..."

"Who presses on somebody's chest then if you two are too
busy to do it yourselfs?" asked the girl holding Henry.

Gage piped up. "Our crewmates do, honey. They're what
we call basic life support firefighters. They perform the
actual C.P.R., even bagging oxygen into someone's lungs
in between compressions." he said, holding up a teaching
ambu and squeezing it before he handed it down to a child
for a classroom pass around. Then he demonstrated a few
cycles of that kind of resuscitation with a second ambu
apparatus on the mannikin they had left lying sprawled
and bare chested on the floor.

"Oh, ok." replied the little girl, squeezing hers a few times with
its pressure valve disconnected mask plastered over her face.

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Johnny added more. "One BLS firefighter also assists us with
the preparation of all medical equipment and supplies we may
need: the EKG monitor, the suctioning device, the spine
board for transportation purposes. And the medicines we
would probably find ourselves using, many of which have to be
assembled at the rescue scene to maintain sterility."

"What's that? Stir?.. star..?" asked the brainy boy, who really
wasn't.

"Sterility. That means germ free." said Roy.

::Or sp*rm free.:: Gage chuckled mentally in a joking thought.
Gage went on with his answer. "One supervisor's needed to
oversee the entire incident call, our fire captain, to help with
transportation and our patient's house-to-ambulance transfer.
He might even be the one consoling family members if
someone's really sick and we're working on them. Our captain's
free to respond to questions, he can gather witness information,
and even request additional fire truck and ambulance or helicopter
resources if they're needed."

"Cool!" said another little boy, holding a training set of disconnected
defibrillator paddles up in the air. He mocked shocked his best
buddy sitting next to him who played along by falling over
suddenly fake-dead and violated through the heart.

Gage grinned at their antics.

One little girl raised her hand. "But what if you get there, and it's
just a bee sting or something really dumb?" she asked Roy by tugging
on his pants.

"Oh, that's easy." said DeSoto, kneeling down to show her an oxygen
mask. "On many emergency calls, not all our fire personnel are needed.  
We respond everybody at first for what we think is going to be the worst
case scenario, a C.P.R. call, and rank a response all the way down to
release-returning personnel by radio dispatch reports, if they're not needed.
You see, the absolute best in patient care is always the Los Angeles
County Fire Department's top goal and many times an extra pair of
helping hands makes giving that care a step way above the state's
usual norm, for all the citizens of Torrance." he said.

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Shyly, the little girl tried putting on the mask, but it was upside down.
Gently, Roy connected it up to the dummy oxygen tank that was only
full of room air, readjusted it onto her face and turned it on. "There.
That's how it fits. Kinda hissy, huh?" he asked her.

She nodded. "It sounds like a leaky balloon." she agreed.

"Hey, I wanna try.." said her neighbor.

Roy affectionately tousled the curls on top of the second little
girl's head. "Don't worry. You'll all get a chance to play with everything
here." he said to the room at large. "But you're going to have to wait
your turn in an orderly fashion, so everybody line up behind what
equipment you think you want to play with and Johnny and I'll get you
started off. Once you get a chance to see the first thing, move
onto the next piece of gear that you wanna see next. Don't worry
about missing anything. We won't stop until everybody's had a
chance to--"

The sound of running feet interrupted them. It was the school's principal.
"Mr. DeSoto, Mr. Gage?" asked the well dressed man in a suit.
"I'm Mr. Frank, Roosevelt Elementary's head principal."

"Yes? What's the problem?" Johnny asked instantly, reading that need
off the man easily.

"It's one of our third graders. She snuck out of class about ten minutes
ago and one of my shaperones just found her out in the playground.
Apparently, she was playing on the monkey bars when the whole thing
came loose and tipped over on top of her." he explained.

"Is she hurt?" Roy asked.

"Yes." he replied, as Johnny and Roy grabbed for their helmets and fire
jackets.

"Is she conscious?" Johnny asked, plying for more details as he pulled
out his walkie talkie from his turnout's jacket to call themselves out on
a response at their location. He barely noticed Roy running for the
parking lot and the rescue squad's real medical gear.

"No. But I- I- I.. think she's still breathing.." said the soft spoken, larger
man. "Her hand's caught on something. It's real bad. Cindy's out
there trying to stop all the bleeding."

"Ok, see if you can find this child's parental consent papers." Gage
told him. He stopped the man by the arm when the principal tried to
leave unthinkingly. "But first, show me the way out to her. " said Johnny,
prioritizing things. "Henry, go find the teacher and bring her in here
to mind all of the kids." he told their station dog. For safety's sake,
he took the acetylene barbeque torch that he and Roy had been
using to light the trash can paper and stuffed it away into a jacket
pocket.

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Henry barked once and loped out of the room to perform that task.

"Where did Mr. DeSoto go?" asked the principal defensively as they
quickly left the classroom.

"My partner left only long enough to go pull up our rescue squad
to where she's trapped. You say she's how old?" Johnny plied.

"Eight and a half. My G*d, how can her teacher be so inattentive?
I always keep telling everybody on my staff to keep counting those
heads." fretted the principal.

Johnny half grinned to calm the man. "It's summer time. The out-of-doors
is a siren's call for just about anybody this time of year, Mr. Frank.
Can you tell me her first name?"

"It's Tasha."

"Ok, thanks. We'll handle it from here. Relax, we'll call the cops if
you can't find Tasha's papers in time before we have to begin  
treating her."

Mr. Frank began to calm down enough to fall into a fast walk.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gage didn't like what he saw when they finally got outside under
the hot sunlight. The playground equipment that had fallen was
a multi-story apparatus, complete with an upper level fort
and tire swings. He could see the motionless little girl, hanging
by her arm about thirty feet in the air. He lifted his live HT to
his mouth. "L.A., Squad 51. Roll Engine 51 to our location
and a laddertruck. We've a trapped girl inside a metal structural
collapse."

##Squad 51, 10-4. Rolling one engine apparatus and a ladder
company. Time out: 13: 03.##

The playground shaparone had climbed the mock fire pole over
the sand pit near the collapsed monkey bars and was holding
onto it for dear life with her legs while she held onto the pressure
point in Tasha's trapped arm desperately at the fullest extent of
her reach. "Hurry! I'm.. getting so tired." the woman moaned.

"Ok. All right. Just let go. I don't want you to fall from up there."
Johnny said, whipping off his coat and helmet. He immediately
went to the base of the pole. "Ok, slide down. I'll catch you
on the way down." he said, holding up his hands.

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Please click the falling leaves for a music soundtrack change.

"I can't let go. She's bleeding bad."

"I've got a tourniquet right here in my pocket!" he said, pulling out
one from his hip holster. "I'll get up there and take over. Now
come down before you fall down." he told her.

##Squad 51, L.A... Engine 51 reports an E.T.A. of four minutes
to your location. Truck 110 is responding in six.##

"10-4. We'll be waiting.." Gage replied HT.

Gasping, trembling, the woman grasped the play fire pole,
leaving behind bloody trails from the soiled fingers she had been
using to aid Tasha. She slipped down the last eight feet
to the ground when her gripping strength finally failed to hold
her onto the slippery pole.

Johnny caught her as her feet impacted the sand. He absorbed
some of her momentum by rolling both the woman and himself over
onto one side into a muffled tackle. "You all right? You didn't
sprain your ankles?" he asked.

"No," she sobbed, brushing messy hair away from her face with
her arms as she avoided getting Tasha's blood onto her skin
subconsciously. "Just help her." she cried, staying where she
was, lying on the sand.

Gage immediately started climbing, using his gloves to dry off
the pole as he ascended. Closer and closer, he rose up towards
the limp little girl hanging by just her left hand from twisted knot of
overstressed playground pipework. He saw something
thick and red, dripping and falling by him in a steady rain from
up above. ::That's arterial.:: he decided, grunting as he worked
his way higher and higher. The scent of blood only made him
climb faster.

He saw Roy running with the resuscitation gear and trauma
boxes. "Leave those for now and get belts and ropes. She's way
up here with a life threatening bleed!" Gage shouted at his partner.
Reaching the top of the pole, Johnny locked his feet and ankles
around the pole to hold himself in place and he reached over
for the little girl's neck and upper arm. Clamping a hold back over
her effected brachial artery, he reached a second hand out by
the fingertips, trying to stretch far enough to feel
for her carotid pulse. ::Is it there?:: he wondered, not seeing
clear signs of breathing because of the wind blowing the
girl's long trailing blond hair back and forth over her face and torso.

Johnny stretched even closer and very precariously from the
great height he had climbed on the playground fire pole.
"Tasha? Can you hear me?" he asked.

Image of 298.jpg Image of pressure.jpg

**************************************************
From: "Pat or Cassidy or Jeff" <voyagerliveaction@yahoo.com>
Date: Sun Feb 4, 2007 1:05 am
Subject: Sheer Deprivation...

Johnny was regretting his choice of action and decision to just charge
right on in. "Roy, hurry up! I'm getting real tired here..." he grunted, holding
tight to the pole, and the little girl as hard as he could.

"I'm coming up!" Roy hollered, climbing with three belts, two rope coils and
gear enough to set up their three anchor points above the girl. "Is she viable?"

"Yeah.." gasped Gage. "...for now. As soon as you get her tied off, get her
O.P.A." he grunted, yelling around the tourniquet strap he had moved and now
held ready in between his teeth.

Roy quickly negotiated the tilted playground equipment he still trusted to be
secure around the child. DeSoto tied off his belt on a primary strut he could see
directly jutting up from a concrete plug beneath the ground and he reached for
the first of his spare belts.

"Get the girl's.." Johnny groaned, willing his fingers to keep on gripping the pulse
point in Tasha's arm. To Johnny, the tang of blood began to smell even saltier when
the sweat running down his face began to evaporate.

"Nope. You're first." Roy grinned tightly as he reached over towards them. "She's
not going anywhere with that trapped hand and only you are in danger of falling. I'm
sure you don't want Cap seeing you like this." DeSoto said, lowering himself carefully
down until he hung above his partner and the child. "Don't move." he told Gage.

"Wouldn't dream of it." Johnny said, not looking away from the unconscious child's
face. "Risky, doing this, I know, but oh, so worth it." he grimaced, blowing away a
trickle of perspiration that was rolling down into his eye.

DeSoto snuggled on Johnny's belt to the anchor point he had created above them
all and hooked him in securely. "Okay."

Image of johnnyclimbfightclose.jpg Image of arcoroyclimbclose.jpg

Gage let go and hung arms and legs limp in instant relief. A few seconds later, he
deftly applied the girl's tourniquet after hugging her to himself with his legs.

Roy climbed back up half a foot on his rope and got on Tasha's head long enough to
insert the short airway and get in another fast primary assessment. "She's open, but
panting." he reported. "Color's still fair." he said putting on the child's harness and belt.
"But I wouldn't count on it staying that way." DeSoto reported. "Pulse's 120 and weak."

Gage made a noise of frustration. "Are you going up top to take some of the pressure
off this hand?"

Roy tilted his helmet out of his way as he glanced up to where she was firmly
trapped by metal. "Yeah.." he decided. "The monkey bars on your side of her are still
okay. Here." he said, passing off a pediatric ambu bag that he had stuffed inside of
his jacket. "She might need this before the engine arrives."

Johnny took the manual breather, holding the bag valve mask in between his teeth while
he cut away the clothes covering Tasha's injury.

"This, too!" DeSoto told him, passing off a small adjustable cervical collar.

Johnny sized and fitted the collar snugly into place to immobilize Tasha's head firmly
for the lifting move to come.

Roy slowly, inch by inch, made his way on top of and over the section of steel pipework
that hadn't snapped and warped into failure. "Is she set down there?" DeSoto yelled down.
"I'm gonna take her weight off that arm in a few seconds." he warned.

"Yeah. Yeah." Gage answered. "Then bring me up a little so I can ventilate her. She's
starting to get suppressed too much on her inhalations."

Roy hurried and got the job done. Once he was satisfied that Johnny was comfortable and
able to carry out his end of things, Roy concentrated on learning how the girl's left hand was
pinned around the twisted metal rods that used to be the climbing struts of the elevated jungle
gym. He marked a second written time in ink right on the girl's skin above Gage's tourniquet
when he released the band for a few moments. DeSoto retightened it to halt Tasha's active
bleeding once he saw that her hand and some of the unfractured fingers and knuckles
blossomed back into pink shades.

"What's she gonna need?" Johnny asked Roy as he gave the girl an assisted breath of air
on the bag.

Image of ambugreen.jpg Image of roygagegetboyoutfast.jpg Image of oralairways.jpg

Roy sighed, thinking hard. "Just a sawzall. If we shear the main beam on her end and these
two grip bars tangling up her hand, she'll come free." he replied.

"Good deal,..uh,..an update..." Gage gasped tiredly. "Her chest's still clear. Find anything else
on her?"

"No. Nothing. Just that hand, those three fingers and the arm we already know about." Roy
told him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sirens grew in the distance and soon Engine 51 roared into view followed by Ladder
Truck 9. The two trucks pulled up at the edge of the school yard. Hank Stanley and the
captain of the Quint ran up to get info from Squad 51's paramedics in person.

Hank put a hand to his mouth for shouting when he saw that Roy and Johnny's hands were far too busy for portable radio use. "What's her condition and situation?" he yelled up to them.

"Poor breather. Hypovolemic shock!" Johnny shouted down. "Get permission for a couple of
I.V.s, Cap, for a nine year old female."

At the same time, Roy got the ladder company captain's attention. "Get a sawzall in the bucket. A peds backboard with her in the basket will be the fastest way down."

Johnny's list kept coming. "And bring a splint with ya. For her upper arm, hand and shoulder."
he added.

Cap did them one better. "And a second paramedic team to take over for you once she's
on the ground. You both are getting depleted too long strengthwise to be allowed to do any
transporting." Stanley ordered, seeing how much Roy and Gage were mouth breathing
through growing fatigue despite their safety belts and supporting ropes. "Kelly, Stoker,
go up with nine's men in the basket. Bring the squad's I.V. box with that spineboard and
a universal air splint with a ton of elastic bandages. Take over ventilations while nine's
crew cuts her free and immobilizes her.... Roy is she fully secured?" he asked, meaning
both Tasha's airway and her dangling position.

"Yes!" DeSoto shouted.

"All right." Hank  waved. "Her ambulance is on the way and your relief's coming in one.
Hang in there. I got Lopez on the biophone to Rampart right now."

DeSoto gestured affirmation as he began checking and rechecking all three of the anchor
points he had rigged for supporting everybody in the air. Then he contented himself with
resting a few monitoring fingers against the rapid pulse flickering fitfully in Tasha's throat.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Rampart this is Engine 51." began Marco from where he crouched on the street a little
way from the active rescue scene. Already, he could see sparks flying as the stricken
child was slowly untangled and sawed away from the collapsed playground cage on the
second level. "How do you read?" Lopez hailed.

Dixie McCall toggled the base station's reply switch. ##Unit calling in, go ahead.##

"Rampart, we've a little girl trapped by the left hand with possible limb and finger
fractures and severe hemorrhaging. She's unconscious. Airway, bleeding and
breathing are under effective manual control. She's still undergoing extrication at
this time. Our E.T.A. to the ground is..." Lopez looked up and eyeballed their rescue
team's progress. They were in the midst of a coordinated move sliding the girl onto
a roped in backboard inside the ladder bucket. "....about five minutes. She has on
one tourniquet."

##10-4, 51.## McCall replied. ##What's your child's approximate age?##

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