"Oh, yeah? What was it?" asked Johnny. "007's?" he snickered.|
"No. Get out. It was Station 51,
man. Same as ours." Chet shared
"For real?" Gage gaped.
"Yeah, go ask that
Nicole chick if you don't believe me." Kelly said.
"You like her, don't you? I can tell." he winked.
Johnny shot him a dirty look and shooed him away to go watch for
the ambulance attendants arrival
to their dining room.
Kelly stopped in his tracks when he spied a fresh red cloth covered
tray jack parked neatly at the entrance leading into the dining
On it, was a brand
new Cracker Jacks box, already opened and ready
for eating. ::Oh, geez-- ! Now I got two prizes!::
he thought excitedly.
::You help somebody out of a rough spot and you can literally
plan on getting
rewarded every time. That's the name of the game.::
he celebrated, grabbing it up and munching happily.
From: Patti or Jeff or Cassidy <email@example.com>
Portions tandem written with J.
or Judy Theis <firstname.lastname@example.org> about four year ago.
Date: Fri Mar
30, 2007 9:24 am
Subject: Powder Service..
Johnny scrubbed his hair down well after his shower
morning in Roy, Chet and his's hotel room. "You know, that team we
met last night? They
were really well prepared. I've never even heard
of a ski patrol trained in at the ACLS paramedic
Kelly scoffed, brushing his teeth at the sink. "What? You think all they
are a couple of leg splints, a toboggan stretcher and
a St. Bernard carrying a keg of brandy around
"No... Geez, Chet. I mean I thought the fire department was the only
had some of us working for them." he said, passing a hand
between him and Roy to mean paramedics.
Roy was sitting on one of the beds pulling on some clean wool socks.
"And why not private businesses,
too? The fire department doesn't hold
the only monopoly on getting near sick and hurt people. It was
happen someday. They probably even planned it that way. Quite frankly,
I'm glad paramedic
services are starting to branch out. And I think
I saw it coming, too. I read about a new kind of
paramedic team answering a
medical emergency on a fishing trawler way out at sea."
Who were they with?" Kelly asked.
"The Coast Guard." DeSoto replied.
"Nice. They get to
fly, what, almost every day? Just picture the kinds of calls
they get." Johnny said with admiration.
"Burns, trauma, sudden foreign illnesses,
food born related ailments, trench foot."
foot?" asked Kelly.
"Well, yeah. Don't fishermen stand in brine for most of the day catching fish?"
Roy rubbed his nose sleepily. "Johnny, I think that might be a stereotype.|
You're thinking about
World War 1."
Johnny nodded at the correction. "I am? Oh."
"Huh, I still think Johnny's
nuts to stay shocked that we're no longer the only
service paramedic bound." Kelly concluded, throwing
on his ski jacket. He
gathered up his ski boots and rentals along with poles and made for the door.
"See you guys, later."
"Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Chet. Did you remember your room key?!"
Gage shouted, but the door had already resounded with a solid thud as
it slammed shut in its housing.
"He'll never learn." he said, holding up
the third electronic key card into the mirror so Roy could
"The room's in his name. He can always get a new one swiped in at the front
DeSoto suggested, tying on his boots. "I'm ready to start heading out
in his bathing towel, smirked. "Huh, now just where are you off to
so fast? I know you don't like
to ski almost as much as Dixie does."
"I'm going hiking in Desolation. Doctor Brackett is coming
"No, Johnny. In Desolation. Desolation Wilderness.
the name of the natural area they've set aside for just
the animals and backpacking hikers. No vehicles
are allowed inside
a hundred square miles surrounding this entire place. We've booked
tour up Meeks Bay Trailhead. It's gonna be just the three of us."
"Oh, yeah? How far is that going
to be? Sounds like it's bound to get
a little rough and tough."
DeSoto shrugged. "I've already
talked to a few locals...
They say it's just a moderate hike that takes you along the northern most
part of the unofficial Tahoe-Yosemite Trail. After following a road for
approximately 1.3 miles,
the trail passes a small spring, parallels Meeks
Creek and continues upward into a forested valley.
A chain of alpine lakes
runs alongside of you before the trail ascends 1,000 feet up a series of
switchbacks leading to Phipps Pass. All total about 22 miles round trip."
"Sounds kinda snowy."
"It is, this time of year. But the rangers are saying there are no storms in
sight for up there.
At least, not until later tonight. We're gonna get up to the
starting point by alpine ski lift. Wanna
come? They allow horses from the
resort's stables to come along. All they have to do is carry a few
We're gonna have a mule with us doing the same thing."
"Nah, I think I'm gonna
copy Chet's idea and.. go on a few runs. Those
ski slopes out there are sounding mighty appealing
right about now."
Johnny said, thinking about Nicole of the Ouray Mountain Ski Patrol.
hmm, so she IS working today. I see. I think I get it." DeSoto teased,
throwing on his ski jacket
and wool hat.
"What did you say?"|
"Nothing. Have fun." Roy said, leaving the room. "And yes, I have my room
And with that, he left the room.
"Say, Roy.." Johnny began a little distractedly as he
dried off his hair some more.
"Don't forget your room key.." he mumbled underneath his head towel.
Mike Stoker was in seventh heaven. He figured he had everything just
about perfect in their campsite
within the heart of the Desolation Wilderness
Park. He and Marco were roughing it on the gang's collectively
camping spot, Peg 51.
The rows of pines framing the snowy mountains were a picture
The lake was a crystalline jewel, and the air, like crisp cold wine.
even the wind was perfect, blowing his cooking fire's smoke away
from their two winter tents, and
already five huge speckled trout sizzled
on the pan.
It was a running
joke between all of them on A shift how their shared ski vacation
spot had even been located. Marco
laughed, remembering the kindly sheriff that
Roy and Johnny had met on a wild weekend of off duty
rescues a few years ago.
Then, the sheriff promised the two L.A. paramedics a good fishing spot
for their unofficial duty time donated to Santa Rosa County, after they had spent
better part of their only two vacation days saving a badly burned boat accident
victim and then a
rock climbing teen.
The sheriff had showed them a map of this place, Peg 51. And the rest of the
fell absolutely in love with "The Spot." Eventually, they dragged most of Rampart's
staff and their families to camp there over subsequent winters until all
of them were caught up inside
The Spot's special magic, too. The park officials
got very used to writing down, 'Peg 51. Reserved,
for Station 51' in their reservation
But Stoker knew that one weekend was always reserved
for Roy and Johnny exclusively.
The anniversary of Roy and Johnny's fateful Santa Rosa fishing weekend,
they had met the kindly Sheriff and shared bowls of cabin cafe chili with him in the park's
lodge. They had created a new mutual tradition of fishing, hang gliding, hiking and
for the occasion.
Stoker took in a deep breath of the heady scent of the Ponderosa pines and fresh
and sighed. He remembered back to the conversation that he had overheard about
earlier, as he flipped succulent fillets around on their sticks. The fire before
him was crackling
almost as much as the crunching snow beneath his feet. "Hey Marco,
But a snore
peeled out from behind him, making Mike smile.
thought back in time.. to the locker room at Station 51.
It was only yesterday morning, that Roy
wasn't keen to go up to The Spot even
when Johnny reminded him of their usual additional camping
reservation. "Don't tell me
you forgot about the thing we do, too, during our big ski trip weekend,
"No. I didn't forget. I just... changed my mind that's all. It's October. The nights
going to be really cold up there. We've had a really hellish week with fire calls
and I'm too sore
to hang glide decently. And your lungs are still a little too sooty.
So, no. I..don't want to go
up that far this time...I just want to hang around
the fringes closest to the resort. So go ahead
give the tag to Stoker and Lopez.
It's their turn to get away up there anyway. Besides, I wanna just
"Come on, Roy.." John said as they changed out of their uniforms
for street clothes.
"A-shift's ended. And I know you didn't do anything else big this week. Joanne
kids are with Grandma DeSoto in Utah." he guessed.
Roy looked at his partner in surprise.
"How'd you find that out?"
John smiled, saying nothing, tapping his temple significantly.
DeSoto smiled, "Clairvoyant, huh? Oh, I see. More likely you drove by the house and
saw the usual
strewn bikes and basketballs cleaned up out of the yard and the
missing station wagon on your way
to the coffee shop."
John's triumphant smile fell. "How'd you know that?" he said, buttoning up
It was Roy's turn to tap his forehead secretively. He waited a minute before
Johnny off the hook. "I heard your jeep backfire as you kicked it into third gear when
drove by this morning.... Unmistakable sound, that. Woke the neighbor, too. Crazy
old Mr. Fosche
called me at five oh two, three seconds after I was jolted out of bed. He
was thoroughly convinced
that a flying saucer from Area 51 was crash landing down the
Johnny ignored the odd neighbor angle. "My jeep doesn't backfire.. I keep it perfectly |
"Tell that to the average Joe who hears you driving by and you might hear a different
story.." Roy grinned. "Besides, you got that ticket from the officer pulling you over for
It was John's turn to be surprised, "How'd you find out about that?!"
looked outside my bedroom window and saw the red and blues go off behind your
tail lights. Had a
h*ll of a time convincing Mr. Fosche that you two weren't the UFO
he thought he heard crash landing..."
Gage's face got redder and redder. "Yeah, well it was Vince, and I got only a warning,
and he waved the pink warning ticket in his partner's face from his shirt pocket.
"Nothing to worry
about. We can still hike up north. So why are you really getting cold
feet and suddenly changing
your mind about us two going on that side trip?"
"I'll tell you why. I didn't get any down time
this week work wise and yeah, I literally
have cold feet. My shoes are still wet from yesterday's
warehouse fire. Again, it's
October, like I told ya.. I don't want to catch cold and...I want some
solid sleep for
once." Roy said ticking off points on his fingers..
"I can drag up the hammock...It's
totally comfortable.." Gage interjected..
"....in a warm bed..."
"I got an old Indian trick
using heated stones from a fire to keep that hammock
nice and toasty."
"....with solid food...."
"Since when have you known The Spot to skunk us trout wise? We'll eat like
and nobody around to bug me." And he stared significantly at his talkative
Johnny was quiet at that.. "I'll ...I'll give you the first day to play the hermit. I can go
and do my shaman's thing early and you can sway in that hammock to your heart's
we can do our winter hang gliding thing, ok?"
"Us?.. Doing a hang gliding thing? I thought I was
your official cliffside spotter. I
haven't been in the air that way in ten years." he said incredulously.
"Come on.. Come fly. I changed my mind about climbing that frozen waterfall."
It was Johnny's turn to narrow his eyes. " I guess that ol' wedding band has made
your left hand
a little too heavy on the flight bar, eh?"
"Ok. All right. You don't have to fly.
I can fly solo for the both of us. What about
the rest of it? What do you say...?" And Gage shot
Roy his best, crooked smile.
Roy's expression fell dead pan and serious. "Absolutely not. Have
fun on your own.
If you don't wanna do that, give The Spot to them."
And so it was, two days later, Marco and Stoker found themselves deep within The
Desolation Wilderness. ::What a name.:: Stoker thought. ::It so doesn't
fit the place.:: he thought
Lopez was still doing the 'hammock'ville rock'. One snore for every rocking pass.
There was only five hours of daylight left to them. Barely enough time to do a little
and the returning hike back into their main camp.
Mike's growling stomach returned immediately
when he thought about the time
So Mike shoved the frying pan off the fire, where sweet
smelling trout and hickory
popped and sizzled in their juices.. and sauntered over to where Marco
snoozed under the pines within the canvas hammock, bundled in a down sleeping
he teased. And he waved the pan of mouth-watering trout
under his coworker's frosted nose.
Marco only sawed wood from underneath his wool jacketed arm.
::Nothing.:: Stoker thought. ::Should
have brought some smelling salts.::
Grinning, Mike decided to give him twenty minutes more of napping.
enough time for me to get these pinion nuts roasted enough to go with the
He retreated back to the fire, weaving around the brightly assembled hang glider
of Johnny's in between their cold weather tents.
Mike Stoker sat down on The Spot's rock by the
iced over beach and sighed,
studying the perfect blue sky above him while he cooked.
twenty minutes went by and Mike found he still didn't have the heart to
wake his friend. Not everyone
had his endless amount of energy and Marco, he
couldn't fault. Stoker knew how tired the whole crew
had been that week after
pulling Johnny out of the warehouse fire with his hide intact.
took the cooked fish and wrapped them in aluminum foil and placed them in
the cooler. Hot fish,
cold fish, it didn't matter. They would still taste good.
And he and Lopez were finally away from
the world for some well-earned time off.
Stoker took a deep breath filling his lungs with the crisp winter air. ::I need coffee.:: |
He went to the cooking gear and took out the coffee and the stove top
percolator. It would take
several minutes for Mike to get the coffee going so he sat
down near the fire and watched it as it
slowly warmed up on the roaring wood fire.
::I guess I won't be taking any photos today. Maybe
tomorrow I'll get a chance to do it.
And that ledge way up there is just perfect.:: he planned,
studying the peak near them.
The coffee was soon done so Stoker took his mug and reached for the
his aim was off due to the altitude and he knocked the hot kettle off the grate and
the snowy ground. He wasn't able to move his feet out of the way in time and the
beverage poured out onto a booted ankle and foot, soaking in between
dropped his mug and instinctively reached for his leg.
"D*mm*t. OUCH!" Mike took off his glove and
began to unlace his hiking boot.
After taking his sock off, Mike saw redness on his left ankle down
to his instep.
He grabbed a handful of snow to melt and started dripping it over the area through
a fire warmed glove. Stoker tried to right the kettle, but still distracted, he burned
right hand for forgetting to use the pot holder. "Ow,,, not again! What
is wrong with me?" he said
angrily out loud.
Marco heard the commotion coming from the campfire. Rubbing his eyes, he
awakened from his slumber. He moved awkwardly to get out of the hammock.
Ungraceful as it was,
Lopez finally managed to get up and over to Mike, who
continued to swear.
Marco looked down
at his friend. "What did you do?"
Looking up with pure disgust on his face, Mike pointed to his
"This is what I did. I burned my foot with the hot coffee."
Marco bent down
and looked at the scald. "Looks like a first degree burn. We
should have some cream in the first
aid kit and some aspirin. I'll go get it."
Lopez stretched his arms behind his back, still trying
to wake himself. "Man,
I feel like I've been drugged."
"That's the fresh winter air working
on us. There's no smog up here. And
maybe because of the altitude." Stoker mused.
weird at four thousand feet? We're not up that high." Marco
insisted mildly. Lopez chuckled sleepily
and slowly plodded over to their
backpacks and took out the first aid kit. He dropped it next to
rubbing his face. "I think this is just the weight of...*yawn* fire duty sliding
"Maybe. Any saline in there?" Mike asked.
hurts." Stoker said, eyeing up Marco.
Lopez froze his expression and tried not to get mad. "I
know it hurts and
it's gonna hurt more. You can pour melted snow on it to numb it up a little
then put on the burn cream." Lopez took the salve out and handed
it to him.
"I know that!
Geez!" Stoker grabbed the tube from Marco's hand.
"Tomar las cosas con calma. Ay!" Lopez exclaimed,
still turning Mike's
leg around to look at it.
"Sorry, Marco. It's uncomfortable."
set his parka'd hands on his hips. "Lemme go get a towel to wet in
the stream to make you a cold
pack. That should work even better.
The burned area's not that big."
"No, it's not. But I
think it's on my heel, too."
Marco stood up and stretched again. He picked up his canteen and
contents while he walked down to the stream. The water was almost as cold as the
snow and steaming in the frigid air. The afternoon's chill was coming
in. After half a minute, Marco
returned with the water.
"I can boil the rest of this, Mike. Let it cool so we can use it as a
compress solution for your burn if that starts to peel open on you. Go ahead
the cream on and take two aspirin." He regarded Stoker thoughtfully.
"Huh. On second thought, maybe
YOU want the hammock now." he teased.
"Very funny." Mike grumbled. "I want to go shoot a couple
of rolls of film."
"You still can. Once this is treated and dressed. This won't hold you back|
unless you let it." Lopez
poured the water into a pan and placed it on the grate
protecting the open campfire. "With this weather,
Mike, the water will cool back down
in a couple of minutes after I shove the pan into the snow. Until
then, lemme help
you up off that cold ground."
Stoker stood up on one leg and with Lopez's
help, he hobbled over to the
hammock and got inside of the sleeping bag to dry off his slacks. He
his bare foot exposed to the colder air out one side and on top of the bag.
putting a clean cloth under Mike's foot when he noticed red
blotches on his hand. "What happened
"I still wanted the coffee and didn't realize the pot was still hot."
a face, bent over to scoop up some snow into his glove,
and he piled it high on top of the second
burn, leaving it there to melt.
"No. We just got here. Keep that radio turned
off and packed away."
"Suit yourself. A sled ride down the mountain might be kinda fun."
"Not with a ski patrol. Not in the mood."
Marco just smiled.
amused. He was stressed. And from more than one
kind of burnout. "Marco, it's just not my day. Not
at all. How am I gonna
go skiing tomorrow?" he moaned.
"These'll calm down by then. Like sunburn."
Lopez told him,
eyeing up their cooling progress. "They're nothing."
"I hope you're right."
said Stoker, covering up his face with his ski cap's
brim to cut down the sun's glare. Shifting in
the hammock, Mike got comfortable
and put his other arm over his face. In a few minutes, Stoker fell
while trying to keep the irritating skin pain out of his mind.
From: Patti or Jeff
or Cassidy <email@example.com>
Date: Fri Mar 30, 2007 5:37 pm
Subject: The White
Captain Stanley was having the time of his life. And he
wasn't in the ski resort.
He was kicking it back, and relaxing a
while, talking shop with his perfect working rural counterpart.
"My men are going to kill me if they found out that I was here."
he said to Meeks Bay's fire
captain as he accepted a mug of
steaming coffee on the glassed-in pine wood balcony overlooking
the tiny cabin like fire station's driveway.
"Tell em, ...you got lost in the woods somewhere."
Tim Eihausen as he fingered a leaf on the bamboo shoot
growing out of a glass of water
on the hand painted table
between them. It looked incongruously at home in the sunlight
the backdrop of the bright bursts of snow falling from
all the pine tree boughs nestled around them
as a soft winter
wind liberated its weight from their needles. "Captains are entitled
to the occasional
station tour, too. It's..." Tim broke off, gathering
"almost a rite of passage that goes with the
Cap looked dubious.
"Look at it this way." said Tim, spooning in the two spoonfuls
artificial creamer that Hank had said he wanted into his cup. "Who
else do we have with whom
we can confide in, except ourselves?"
Stanley began to smile, studying the medals and letters
framed on the knotty pine walls above resort town school kids drawings
"Am I right?" Eihausen egged on, smacking Hank's forearm.
Hank nodded and began to stir his
coffee thoughtfully as he leaned
back on his chair legs and cleared his throat self consciously.
Tim went on, still smiling with carefree abandon.|
"This isn't about them and what they might think.
This is about you, finding
yourself a good time, regardless. That's what vacation is all about."
he said with a sweep of his hand. "None of you are on duty right now. So
stop acting like you are."
Cap burst out laughing, finally reassured. He leaned forward on his seat
confidentially as a vollie firemen climbed up the brass fire
pole to their level to take a reading
on the tiny weather station perched
outside their expansive bay window on a shelf. "I did feel like
in the hen house at the resort. Skiing feels like it's from Mars."
"It does." agreed
Tim. "Until you get used to it."
"For me? That answer's gonna be never. Why I ambled up the road
learn more about your ski patrol set up. It's fascinating! Mobile rescue?
Without a truck?
I have to admit I'm more than a little curious to see what
it's all about. Oceans and asphalt freeways,
and brambled canyon cliffs,
I understand for settings. But working in snow?" and he leaned his chin
on an elbow perched next to his coffee cup.
"Tire chains are everything. We've a Quint rigged
up with them. Wanna see?"
"Just try and hold me back."
Captain Stanley was impressed how the mountain station's equipment and trucks,
a little on the
old side, had been modified into alpine configurations. ::And on a
modest budget, too.:: he realized.
::Their overhead must be phenomenal.::
"What are your rates for your medics? It's novel that you
run them out of
modular box ambulances instead of rescue squad trucks." Cap said.
"It's a matter
of environmental conditions. We need a safe, heated
place in which to treat people. It's warm where
you are. So you usually don't
need the shelter. The grand out of doors, is usually enough. You guys
get that much rain. I've seen some of your fire engines down there. Why don't those
have any roofs?" he asked curiously.
Hank joked. "We like to work on our tans." he quipped.
Tim laughed good naturedly.
"We don't have that luxury nine months out of the year. This rig," he
a hand on Medic Three's green and white side. "is a whole entire room of intensive
care equipment, on wheels, always kept at eighty degrees Fahrenheit, no matter
what the temperature
"Expensive?" Hank asked, raising his eyebrows.
"No more fuel expenditure than
an extended length pumper or one of your
middle sized county ladder trucks. Here, we don't use those
so much. No buildings
are higher than five stories out here. Modified sports utility vehicles with
suspensions are the way to go. We use the highway department with their cranes
steep angle extrication work. CalTrans.They're our partners. There's some
differences between our
two fire departments. Everybody's a fully advanced trained
high angle mountain climbing instructor
as well as a cutting edge fire jumper."
"Wow. I had no idea."
"Think about it. We've little
or no level ground to work on, except along laid
pavement and we've a thousand times the tinder factor
than do the lowlands,
anywhere." Tim laid out.
"That you do. I've never seen pine trees so
tall. Or big."
"Some sequoias and thousand year bristlecones are still at the higher elevations."
Cap blew a low whistle. "Lightning risk must be sky high. Uh,.. no pun intended."
he said, holding
out a hand.
Tim chuckled. "That's our number one fire cause. Right behind human negligence
"Does the city rate your station billing?"
"No. We do. Solely on what kind of emergency medical services are rendered. |
Just above cost of operations.
The city fund raises separately for some of our
salaries and supplements with volunteer crew to keep
up affordability for our area's
permanent residents. El Dorado County's ambulance rate schedule,
Our advance life support's base rate is $752, for emergency or non-emergency calls.
Level 2 for any resuscitation in combination with our second basic life support
rig is $1,089. Our
mileage is market rate. Facility waiting time per quarter hour, is
Tim pulled down
a clipboard hanging on the wall next to the idling snow tire chained
Quint and flipped around a few
pages. "My medics use this for reference when filing
their paperwork. "Let's see. Oxygen use is market
rate, ambulance standby per
hour, is $129 with all critical care transports topping off at $1,287
for everything if
invasive procedures are utilized, such as intubation, cricothorocotomy, I.C. pace
makers.." he shrugged. "Oh, and the medical supplies and drugs are at market
cost + 15%"
bad. Insurance covers most of it for most people, right?"
"Right. Usually it whacks off eighty
percent of the total for the patient."
"How do you classify your base ratings? Everybody's service
is different, depending
on the county so I hear." Cap said.
"It sure is.. This is ours. The
ALS emergency base rate is charged for all ambulance
transports in which an emergency Code 3 response,
lights and siren, was
required, or emergency treatment rendered, or any type of advanced life support
procedure was involved."
"You mean that to be any active physical resuscitation and intravenous
courses?" Hank wanted to know.
"Yes. Any respiratory or cardiac arrest or hemorrhage
reduction treatments." Tim
clarified. "Now, our ALS non emergency base rate is charged for non-emergency
transfers which can be scheduled from a private residence, nursing facility, or
hospital and not requiring
an emergency response. Wheelchair transports,
para and quadraplegic intrafacility trips, etc. Last
of all our ALS Level 2 is a charge
that applies when there has been a medically necessary administration
of at least
three different medications or the provision of one or more of the following ALS
manual defibrillation/cardioversion, endotracheal intubation, central
venous line, cardiac pacing,
chest decompression, surgical airway, or
"I don't think our rescue squad
paramedics have some of those abilities yet."
he remarked thinking of Roy and Johnny.
worry. They're coming. The DOT and the AMA are using small town
scaled operations first and their
fewer rescue call numbers to fine tune or
train up what paramedics can or might be able to do. These
down to your big city para-men, have no fear. It's only a matter of time."
I'm not a paramedic." Hank joked.
"Me, too." said Tim. "Sounds a little bit too complicated for
me. That is, all
of it, except for the paperwork. Give me simple CPR and mouth to mouth
up with a positive pressure oxygen tank, any day."
Cap laughed out loud, startling the resort
fire station's cat, lounging on the
second story pinewood railing overlooking the pinewood garage.
somedays I feel exactly the same way." Hank shared. "How's the boy doing
that we helped
"Back to sledding. Nicole, who's pulling slopes patrol with Ryan again today
they saw him playing on Yellow Run with his mother in the kid safe
area just before lunch."
happy he's all right. He sure had a close call yesterday."
"He sure did. Kids are funny though.
They can be half dead and bounce
back in a couple of minutes. Amazes me every time whenever I see
of their fast recoveries from something that would kill an adult."
Hank nodded in agreement.
"Say, which truck did those two take out? I can't
tell which one's not here from the melting treadmarks."
he said, pointing to
the snow puddling out from earlier runs taken that morning, on the rustic
"They didn't take any."
"Run that by again.." Stanley blinked. "Just how
are they getting around if they
aren't driving? Your medic service area's fifty miles wide."
Tim's eyes lit up eagerly. "Hank, how are you in a pair of snowshoes?"
he wondered mischieviously.
Cap just gaped. "Well, I uh,.....ah.."
"I'll show you how they're doing it." Tim promised,
Cap wasn't one to shirk new things, he said. "Let's go." with an excited grin.
Gage met up together accidently on a red single diamond at the
bottom of the ski lifts.
shouted when he spied Gage just butt perching himself onto a chair
to go up to the next level. "Hey,
Johnny. Give me a hand up!" he said,
tossing up his bundled skis and poles. Then he leaped just as
lurched forward, beginning the ride.
Gage forearm grabbed Chet deftly and pulled
him up to the seat next to him.
"Hey, glad you could make it. I thought you'd stay inside reading
Harlequin romance novels with Dixie all morning long." he said lowering
the safety bar down
in front of them and locking it shut.
"Nope.." said Kelly. "I just read a few chapters with her to keep her company.|
But then she ran into
this hunky guy and suddenly, it was like I wasn't even
Johnny's face fell around
his ski goggles. "Does Dr. Brackett know about
any of this yet?"
"No. Why should he? It's not
like they're dating or anything."
"Huh. That's funny. I always thought they were." Johnny mumbled
as he held on to the control bar lowered in front of them as they dangled
Chet was oblivious and he didn't seem to need any sunglasses.
::That's probably why he's got
so many freckles.:: Gage thought in dismay.
::I wish I could freckle. A little. Me? I only darken.
It's boring.:: he mused.
"Say, have you seen her yet?" Kelly said.
man. The blond babe with the bandaids."
"Oh. You mean Nicole?" Johnny said evasively, clipping
on his skis so he'd
be able to jump off whenever some convenient ground decided to rise up
more underneath to meet them again. The last thing he wanted
was Chet moving in on his girl. "Nah,
uh, not yet anyway."
Chet pointed back down towards the resort buildings. "Say, look who's
to make an appearance. Is that Dixie in that hot pink ski suit
sitting by that umbrella'd heated
Johnny chortled. "It sure is. I wonder if she's actually gonna try to ski some.
be a reversal if I ended up rescuing her from a sprained ankle."
"She was kinda planning on preparing
for that kind of thing the other
way around." Kelly said softly, leaning over the bar to start waving
"What did you say?"
"Oh, nothing.." Kelly replied. "Look, she's spotted us. She's
Both the ski suited firemen waved back from their moving height,
ascending along the
"Let's meet her at the bottom. Maybe we can give her lessons." Kelly
Without answering, Johnny suddenly popped open the bar and leaped
off, falling down ten feet into
the rich powder. Neatly, he caught himself
on his poles and began skiing downhill like a madman.
It was then, Kelly spotted his target. ::Nicole. I can see the red cross on
the back of her snow
suit from here. And Johnny's ahead of me..:: he
Chet launched himself into the air,
too, sliding off his lift seat neatly.
Only his landing, wasn't as smooth as Johnny's. He ended up
hard onto his butt and he dragged a few feet, numbing certain nether parts
until he regained
good balance on his skiis."Ooo, that smarts. Gotta practice
that again a little later.." he said to
himself as the chair traveling skiers above
him pointed and laughed at good naturedly at his clumsiness.
Behind him, he never noticed a simple booted Dixie McCall getting onto
the ski lift to join him.
In her hand, was a pair of snowshoes.
Gage got to Nicole's side just as Chet cruised in, on a
plume of fluffy frozen
powder. She was just pulling out her radio. "Hi guys. Funny meeting you here.
I was just about to get a progress report from Ryan about the slope conditions
up there." she said,
"Why?" said Johnny, grinning like a kid in a candy store."Something going on?"|
"Not yet. But
the Weather Service says there's a huge snow shelf forming above
A-9 because of some fair weather
winds. We may have to shut this run down in
a couple of minutes just to be on the safe side."
"Oh, really?" Gage stammered.
Kelly covered for him, and himself. "Can we come along?"
Johnny and Chet shared double looks of barely veiled innuendo with
each other in
Nicole smacked both of their snowsuited shoulders. "I meant as skiers
"We're fair." replied Johnny, some of his calm personality returning.
"What we can't ski,
we can climb. We work high angle all the time back
at home." Chet offered smartly.
him for trying for brownie points. "She already knows that.." he
hissed between his teeth.
enough for me." Nicole said planting a couple of skis into the hillside's
virgin snowbank next to
the packed down run that other skiers were using
with high enjoyment. She pulled out her patrol radio.
she hailed crisply. "I'm at 8 spy 2, east side. Just below the cache."
look good. I've dug a pit and there's crystallization beginning
down at the base with a clearly demarcated
glacial layer. Good chance she'll
give within the next four hours. I think we should raise the flag
and close this
"All right. I'm doing it. Any newbies higher than you? If they see
flag, they may panic and we might get stuck running a leg case down before
we can do
a thorough enough safety sweep." Nicole told Ryan.
##Everybody seems to be cool. I've seen no wipeouts for at least twenty minutes.|
I still say raise
it now. I'm seeing blow off starting up at the peak and heavy curling.##
Nicole trusted her paramedic
partner's instincts. Without a word to her two lingering
out of town guests, she leaped into calm
action. Sliding horizontally across the
ski run, avoiding downhillers, she came to a dead eagle tree.
From there, she
pulled on a rope and pulley, until a bright yellow and black checkered pennant rose
its highest limb and began fluttering there. Then she turned resort-wards.
cherry flare rose from spotters at the main lodgehouse to show they
acknowledged the emergency closing
of A-9 as ordered by the ski patrol.
"What was that all about?" Gage asked catching up with her
on his skis. He pulled
off his goggles to see downhill a little better.
"Oh, that's just confirmation
that the tote board is getting changed. Once we've got
A-9 cleared off, the demolition crew will start
heading up there by staff lift to go
blow up that overhanging lip of snow buildup before it decides
itself down on top of somebody." Nicole replied.
Kelly blanched. "You mean, we're
all in danger right now?"
Nicole grinned. "Probably.." she said, enjoying his discomforture. But
she let him off the hook. "No. Not where we are. We're safe as long as we don't
the run over there." she said pointing towards an area of recently
snapped off pine trees and aspen,
bent chaotically like broken toothpicks
pointed downslope. "That's the thunder alley for this season."
"Why do I get the feeling you don't mean a bowling lane?" Johnny said, his
face falling into a
slight bit of fear.
"Because you understand what an avalanche path is. Most big city firefighters
because they understand mud slides." she said smugly. "Come on. Let's go.
You can help me chase
any lingerers downhill with these cherry flares. Here,
put on these vests." she said handing out
two of them that were red, bearing
a white cross symbol emblazoned on the back. "Consider yourselves
It'll take too long to round up staffers from the big house at the base."
Roy DeSoto, and Dr. Brackett were rounding off a curve with their
guide, leading the mule, when it
The snow covering a large part of a mountain valley near them,
began to come down.
A half mile away, Mike Stoker and Marco Lopez, saw the same thing.
A loud klaxoned hooter began to sound all over the resort and
a score board like status sign,
displaying ski run designations began
to flash. A-9's name, turned blood red in lights.
A-9. Alert. A-9. All emergency crews, report.## said a voice
over the loud speaker.
resort wide, all the ski lifts jolted into stillness, keeping their
riders safe where they were, up
high in the still sunny air.
All happy chatter around Dixie ceased and all eyes turned towards
mountain as a dull roar began to grow above them.
McCall slowly turned around and beheld
a monster barrelling down on
A-9 to her right. ::Oh, my G*d. Johnny and Chet are down there.:: she
From: "Pat or Cassidy or Jeff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun Apr 1, 2007 5:54 pm
Nicole dug her skis into the side
of the hill and came to a jolting
stop inside a shower of snow. Chet and Johnny skidded to a halt
on either side of her. She let out a shout of dismay. "We're
done trying to warn anybody. We have
to wait it out until it's over.
Follow me to the aid cache.. We're gonna need it."
Click here for a music soundtrack change.
"What's a cache?" Gage shouted following her back down the slope|
very near the warning flag.
"An emergency storage hut full of our medical gear and sleds."
she replied. "Ryan, notify the fire
department! She's coming down
big!" she hollered into her radio.
Kelly tapped them on their
arms urgently. "Ohhh, that one's
not going to make it.." he said, pointing to a skier who had ventured
the courseway into the no ski zone. He was trying to make a run for
the safety of A-9's open
track through the trees. The roaring avalanche
effortlessly overtook him, sending him tumbling over
the side of a tall
cliff in a jumble of snow. "Too late! Too late!" Chet yelled.
Nicole told the two firemen. "Leave the sled, the team
coming behind us from the resort'll pack it
up. That guy's first.
Don't lose sight of him!" she urged as she pulled a backpack
of gear and
spinal precautions out of the cache. She flipped on
a red light poled at the top of the hut and started
running an orange
streamer tape across the run to show her direction of rescue travel
The avalanche was soon spent, but not before it reached
the highway with its dying
foot as it wound itself, decelerating,
around and over pine trees.
"A car! It's caught a car!"
Nicole gave an update transmission. "Silver station wagon down off 87
Bay Road, right at mile marker 57. Unknown casualty number!"
##PCSO copies. Launching
Life Flight and extrication crews.## came
the voice of her dispatcher.
Tim Eihausen stopped Captain Stanley with the back of
his hand when a klaxon sounded throughout
the pine log
walled garage. They had been laughing on a bench as Tim tried
to show Hank how to
lace up snowsnows.
"Grab a jacket, Hank. We're rolling." said Tim. "Car off
the road." Stanley
got inside of a winter turnout and slid his feet into
the boots that Tim snatched for him out of
a locker. "You're a fourteen.
"Yeah..Good eye." said Hank. Cap started running for
the engine on
Tim shouted. "Not the Quint, we'll send somebody back for
taking the piste basher." he said as his men started running
into the garage to gear
up into cold weather equipment.
"The trail groomer.. A sort of snow tank with
got her out back." Eihausen clarified. "She's the only thing
able to climb the avalanche's
debris field at this point until
it settles and freezes in."
"A bulldozer designed for snow?"
Cap said, rejoining him.
"You can say that." Tim said as the two of them ran for the rear
door. "We'll get exactly where we're headed en route."
The deep rumble of the
slide died away, leaving the sounds
of panicked skiers on the run as they fled basewards, heading
for the resort. But Gage and Skoloda saw no one else but
the tumble of the body skidding down the
mountain side just
above them. "I sure hope he's still alive.." Johnny told her
as they scissor
walked rapidly to the edge of the ski run trail.
"He most likely is. The powder's deep over there.
cushion his impact at the bottom when he finally stops tumbling. All of his
are gonna be from hitting exposed rocks." Nicole cocked her
head, listening carefully a few moments
after she told Chet and Gage
to shush at the tree's edge. "Ok, it's safe to leave the hard pack here.
There won't be a second slide."
"How can you tell?" Chet asked, tightening his snow goggles.
"The trees aren't vibrating.." she said, pulling a de-gloved hand
off the rough bark of one pine.
She lifted her radio to her
mouth. "Ryan, you ok up there?"
##*spap* I'm ok, I'm ok.. But there's
at least one skier trapped
in the alley. I saw her get engulfed. I'm heading over there with
he said of his search dog.
"We're heading for one towards the bottom of Cascade
was topside when it hit. He's taking a high fall."
##Copy, two spotted victims.## Ryan transmitted.
working on getting us head counts of how many total were on A-9.
to be a few hot shots out there who figured they'd
ski off-trail illegally. He says he'll call up
with our returned in numbers
in five minutes. ##
"Roger that." said the woman EMT to her paramedic
Nicole started moving again, with Chet and Johnny close behind. "Send
Max down for a
probe. I've broken the south cache!" Nicole radioed. "Our
second team's almost here." she said, glancing
over her shoulder at the
emergency lift feeding along empty chairs with usage. She could see
four of her ski patrol team in the chairs above an insulated stretcher
tethered onto a cable dangling
under their feet. "They're at eight hundred
##I see them.## said her partner.
Gage startled when a minute later, a large Golden Retriever burst
through a snowdrift and leaped
over his head to get at Nicole's
hand. "Here you go, Max. Go run it up to Ryan. Go." she commanded,
giving the dog the folded up avalanche probe. Max hefted it up into his
slabbering jaws and disappeared
in a cloud of snow who needed no
"Are you two doing ok?" Nicole asked her guests
when they began to
chop step into the thigh deep snow off the ski run inside the tree line.
ok. This is no different than a stair climb." said Chet.
"Just keep leading us on. That guy can't
wait." Kelly said, shifting
a pack of shovels on his back.
resort guest ski chairs, the emergency radio traffic was
clearly audible in the frigid sunny air.
And someone in the know had
heard every word of it from moment one.
Dixie McCall had had enough
of sitting on the side lines. When she
saw the emergency ski patrol teams go by up hill, she lifted
bar and jumped off, landing on her snow shoes. Tightening her hood
around her face,
she jogged over the ski run to the other lift and jumped
onto a chair to follow them up. ::I'm a nurse,
d*mn it. A little cold and snow's
not gonna stop me from helping out here.:: she declared.
and Brackett's guide finally led the mule out of the ravine.
"We're at the road. Are you sure you
wanna do this?" he asked the
"Yeah, we gotta go. Those people are gonna need us asap."
said DeSoto. "Don't worry, we're dressed plenty warm enough.
Thanks for the ropes."
Here's your radio back. Ok, mile marker 57 is
about eighty yards that way. I'm going to go met the
preliminary vehicle searching down this way, and tell him you're
"Feel free. Maybe I can speed up any treatment authorization
a little." replied Kel.
were interrupted by loud shouts from another direction.
It was Lopez and Stoker, carrying out their
"Dr. Brackett. I'll be right with ya. I'm going to tell them what's
Roy said. "That's Mike and Marco."
"I'll wait at the top of the embankment. What do I look for
along the slide's foot?" Brackett replied as he zipped up his
jacket a little tighter against the
"Broken brush and the smell of gasoline." Roy said. "That'll
be where she started rolling
and tumbling down." he said of
the fallen car.
"Ok.." said Brackett, beginning to jog away
Captain Stanley, in the groomer with Captain Eihausen, watched
as the man expertly cleared the
road ahead of them for the two
rescue trucks of firemen following behind them.
Hank exclaimed out loud. "Hey, that's Dr. Brackett!" he said,|
pointing to a figure waving wildly
in front of them through the
gloom of snowflakes still darkening the air heavily from wind
avalanche debris dusted pine boughs.
"Our friend from the resort. He's the attending
who helped us out
with that choking you heard called out last night but didn't need to
to. I think he's spotted something."
Tim threw the snow vehicle into idle. "He sure has. I can
the tire marks skidding sideways from here. Stopping now."
From: Patti or Jeff or
Date: Mon Apr 2, 2007 6:30 pm
Hank shouted to his men and Dr. Brackett standing next to the side
of the road, tying on ropes. "Where
are they?" he asked, joining them.
Stoker pointed over a splintered shrub. "Down there. We can't
tell how many are in the car. Are they laying hose for a washdown?"
"With all this snow lying
around?" Stanley smiled as he watched
Captain Eihausen help his station's firefighters arrange extrication
equipment and rappeling pulleys into rescue configuration with guiding
lines, hauling mains and
belay ropes. "This stuff's acting like natural
fuel foam here." he said happily.
Click the moonlit station|
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