Darin Reid Interview:
This is file 85. This is Jean McMillen. I am interviewing Darin Reid. Today’s date is November 6, 2014. We are doing the interview on SWASA, the Town Crew (Highway Department) the Fire Department, and if we have time, the Ambulance corps. We’ll start with the genealogical information.
JM:What is your name?
DR:Darin Lee Reid
JM:Where were you born?
DR:In Sharon Hospital
DR:Donald J. Reid Sr. and Leona Reid, maiden name Duntz.
JM:Do you have siblings?
DR:I have a brother Donald J. Reid Jr. and I have a brother who actually predeceased me Martin Anthony Reid. He was born in 1960.
JM:Educational background? Did you go to Salisbury Central School?
DR:I did go to Salisbury Central School. I also graduated from SCS and went on to Housatonic Valley Regional High School. I have done other schoolings and trainings from EMS training, and fire department training. I have become a state certified fire fighter; a state certified EMT, a certified Extrication Instructor and certified Emergency Vehicle Operations Instructor.
JM:You are well educated in many fields. I am going to start with SWSA because it is probably the youngest part of you. What does SWSA stand for?
DR:Salisbury Winter Sports Association.
JM:What sport did you participate in?
DR:Mainly ski jumping and some of the downhill skiing that was done originally over at Hob Nob Hill. Then over in the later years at Bitter Sweet Hill which is just a little bit north of the John Satre Ski Jump Hill.
JM:Who taught you to ski?
DR:Actually Roy Sherwood was the one who taught me the jumping. The skiing, mom and dad bought me skis and actually I did a little bit of training with Art Wilkinson as my ski instructor.
JM:How about Larry Stone or Harold Jones?
DR:Larry Stone was my second ski jumping coach and my third jumping coach was Harold Jones because Larry Stone had an offer to go to Lake Placid and be the jumping coach for the IS Ski Jumping Team up there.
JM:Wasn’t Roy Sherwood in the Olympics?
DR:He was and he was an Olympic Medalist, too.
JM:Do you remember what silver bronze or gold?
DR:I believe he got some gold and I think it was back around 1956.
JM:Now when you are jumping is it the age level or the skill level that makes the distinctions?
DR:It is more the age level.
JM:Because there are juniors and there’s…
DR:There is the Junior Group, the Senior Group and the Masters Group.
JM:You get points for what when you jump?
DR:You get points for your style, your form, and your distance.
JM:What do you mean by style?
DR:It is pretty much the way you get set and come down the end run. When you start to go through the air, how quickly you get set into your position and how quickly you get out over your skis. The positioning with the form of the body as well as the style whether your skis are up with the tips out by your nose. Now they have different styles: the v style that went away after many years has come back again, and now is the most popular. As time has progressed and the computers are there and they are starting to figure out more of the aerodynamics to make you jump farther and fly farther, it has come a long way.
JM:it has changed a lot.
JM:When you were jumping, did you win any medals or trophies.
DR:I had won a second place, a small plaque from Salisbury Winter Sports Association on the 30 meter. I have won a couple of other second and third place ribbons.
JM:How long did you participate in SWSA?
DR:About 8 years or so.
JM:Do you do anything with SWSA now as an adult?
DR:I go down and offer assistance as needed as an EMT and do a stand-by for them when they are doing the jumping when they need to have the ambulance there. A few years back I took my bucket truck down. I was able to get it up by the take-off of the jump. I had a few people that I put up in the bucket who were the coaches so they had a better view of their jumpers coming down through. It gave them a completely different view than anybody has ever had up there.
JM:An aerial view.
DR:Yup and it wasn’t the aerial from the judges tower. It was completely different.
JM:Now I want to talk about your work the town Crew (Highway Department). How many members are on the crew?
DR:We have a total of 8 right now, one of whom is the Highway foreman.
JM:Who is the foreman right now?
DR:Donald J. Reid Jr.
JM:Where did you work before you joined the town crew?
DR:I was working for the Transfer Station. I stared there in 1988 in July. In 1998 Bill Hickey retired from the Highway Crew. Bill Pickert asked me if I was interested in coming up and working with them because I had filled in on occasion when they were short of plow drivers. I would get a phone call and Bill would be on the other end saying, “Hey I am short some drivers. Would you come up and work?”
JM:When you were working at the Transfer Station, who was running it then?
DR:Actually I was co-manager with Mike Golden. After a period of time I became the full time manager.
JM:When you joined the Town Crew, do you remember who the selectmen were at that time?
DR:Charlotte Ried was the First Selectman.
DR:This was actually back in 1988.4.
JM:Oh alright, that makes sense because Charlotte was in in 1988.
DR:Bud Trotta and Bob Smithwick I was working for Community Lumber and Hardware prior to going to the transfer station.
JM:Oh good. Mike Tenure?
JM:I know you do an awful lot of the Town Crew, but what are the basic jobs. What generally does the Town Crew do? I know they plow snow in the winter time. What do you do when you are not plowing snow?
DR:General duties are road side mowing, installing drainage, keeping the drains open and cleared various types of tree work to the level that the crew can handle.
DR:We do paving. We also do the basin building, some rock bridge repair, mowing the town parks and some of the cemeteries.
JM:That covers a lot of territory. Does each man have a specialty? Or do you all do it whoever is there at the time. Is there someone in charge of paving or do you all get to pave?
DR:We are all brought in to pave. Some of us are in the trucks hauling the material. Other times it depends on the various types of paving. If we are doing a leveling coat, we used what is called a skid box. So you will back fill the dump truck up, dump some asphalt in it and pull it away and then the skid box is pushed with the pay loader. There are two guys that will be directing traffic, two guys running the skid box on either side because you can raise and lower the plates in there to bring the level of the asphalt up thicker or make it thinner where need be. Then you have two guys, sometimes three guys, with what is called a “lute” which levels up the pavement where the wheels from the loader has compacted the asphalt. You sometimes need to feather that in so the guys will be behind that doing that and then behind that will come the roller.
JM:Do you personally have specific training for the Town Crew? I know you plow snow, it that something that is your specific area?
DR:As far as the plow routes, we do have specific areas for each truck and whichever truck happens to be so called “your” truck that goes up that route and does that in the winter. “Your” truck is more or less your truck and you use it throughout the whole town.
JM:Your route for snow plowing is Taconic.
DR:I basically have all of Taconic.
JM:God Bless You! Fire Department- which came first the Fire Department or the Ambulance in your life?
JM:Ok then we’ll go to the Fire Department. Why did you join the Fire Department?
DR:My dad was in the Fire Department since the early 1960’s; he’s got over 50 years of service. With dad being on the Fire Department, my uncle living next door and was also on the Fire Department, and my mother was in the Ladies Auxiliary and was President of the Ladies Auxiliary.
JM:You don’t have many choices.
DR:You are a creature of habit.
JM:You are a creature of habit. Is it something that you wanted to do?
DR:Oh yeah. I used to go to church with mom on Sunday mornings, through Sunday school and all that and then there happened to be some brush burning and field burning that the Fire Department used to do for donation. Dad asked me if I wanted to go one time so I did that on a Sunday morning, and then no disrespect to the Lord, I love Him dearly but the fire Department kept becoming more and more of my life as a little one and growing up through. Fortunately in talking to a few members Larry Hoage was kind enough to take to the Fire Department that there was a young group of underage kids who wanted to be a part of a junior department. Larry said that he would be the advisor to the group. The Fire Department said OK. We got a formal meeting together of all the kids. We had our elections officers for the group of the juniors. I was fortunate enough to be elected as the chief of the juniors. That was at age 15. I was chief of the juniors for 3 years until I turned 18. At that point I was eligible to join the regular membership of the fire department.
JM:That was in 1977?
DR:That was 1977 through 1980. I have a couple of milestones with that: #1. I actually made it all the way up through the ranks to become Fire Chief of the Lakeville Fire Department. When I became fire chief for the regular department, I was the first fire chief in the Lakeville Hose Co.’s history to be the Junior Fire Chief that made it up to regular department fire chief. #2. I was also the first Lakeville Hose Co, fire chief to meet the new standards to be a certified fire fighter level #2 which was 240 hours of training to get to level #2. #3. I was the first state certified fire fighter level #2 fire chief in Lakeville Hose Co.’s history. #4. I was also the first and to this very day the only Lakeville fire chief that has been certified as at Connecticut State EMT as well.
JM:That is a lot of training.
DR:Yes, it is, but it is also a labor of love.
JM:It has to be because of the amount of time that goes into learning in all of those various skills. I am glad I know you.
DR: A scary fact- I just did the math the other day, although I am only 52 years old, I have 37 years with the fire department, and with the ambulance I have 23 years. It is kind of scary to think that I have 60 years of service, only being on the Earth for 52 of those 60.
JM:We are so grateful that you were willing to do it, truthfully, very grateful. I don’t think that people realize until they need you, either as a fireman or an EMT, how much background you have to have to do these things. It is absolutely incredible. I have interviewed several people on the ambulance, I am working on the fire department now, and I have a couple of them, but it is amazing to me the amount of knowledge that you have to have in order to help people. It is just so wonderful; people should know more about the services that they have in this town that are volunteer services. That is important to know because I think I asked Russell Hoage, you have to have the same amount of training whether you are a volunteer or if it is a paid service.
DR:Fire does not discriminate what it is going to do or who it is going to burn or whatever so we do have the exact same training that the paid departments do.
JM:Do you know why the Lakeville Hose co. started?
DR:There was a fire back in 1903 that actually burned out the center of town, Salisbury.
JM:That is why the fire department got started.
DR: Yeah and that started in 1905.
JM:That is why it is called the Lakeville Hose Company.
DR:There are some old traditions of the Lakeville Hose Co. that still live to this very day. We changed a couple of things. I guess you would call it another milestone? I was the first Captain of the Lakeville Fire Department, although that was basically no more than a title change. Back when Lakeville Hose Co. formed you had a Chief, an Assistant Chief, a Foreman, a 1st Assistant Foreman and a 2nd Assistant Foreman for your line officers. I had been Foreman in the fire department which is the 3rd in command. A lot of times we would go for mutual aid to other departments. When we were going out there, they had captains, first and second lieutenants. Making assignments the chief may say, “OK the Captain is in charge of the interior firefighting, the lieutenant may be in charge of ventilation, another lieutenant may be in charge of water supply.” When they would come over here, and they would say, ”OK who has water supply” because you want us to go either hook the hoses up and pump the hose or we are doing the tanker shuttle. When you told them the foreman has that or the first assistant or second assistant foreman has that, they would look at you as if you had 6 heads because we were not conforming to everybody around us. Finally one day we stepped up, looked at ourselves and said,” Times have changed and let’s conform to the times and communicate better amongst everybody. We
will change our foreman to the proper title now of captain. We will change our first and second assistant foreman to first and second assistant lieutenant.”
JM:Each person in this chain of command has a different job?
DR:It varies slightly from whatever the chief or the commanding officer decides he may need them to do. The chief is not always at all the calls.
JM:Who is your commanding officer now?
DR:Right now Jason Wilson is the chief.
JM:I was asking Russell because we have no fire hydrants up here. You have a new piece of equipment.
DR:We have. I was the chairman; we were replacing a brush truck, but we looked a bit outside the box. We opted to go not the traditional style brush truck, but to a mini pumper. It is harder to get drivers during the daytime, to drive the big apparatus who know how to run it, pump it, and do what they need to do. By getting the new up to date version of the mini pumper, we can have people that don’t need the special license to drive it. We can train them on how to run the pump. We can get some firefighting started and hopefully enough to mitigate the problem now until the big trucks make it there or mutual aid makes it in.
JM:Russell was saying that this is perfect because we have a circular road so that you can drive trucks around and you don’t have to back and saw. What year were you chief?
DR:Back in 1999
JM:You are Safety Officer now?
DR:I am. I took another course to be trained to be Safety Officer.
JM:What does that mean?
DR:It is not just something they say OK, you are Safety Officer. We had which was great an instructor come right to the fire house. We have about 15-18 people trained now to the Safety Officer level. It is an elected position by the department and the people who were interested can put their name up to say that they are interested when we do the voting. The president has a list so he can look down and say, “This is your Safety Officer now; these are the people interested, along with all the other offices” It kind of streamlines the voting, but you may bring a name up from the floor. We post the list 30 days in advance. It just seemed to work better because it gives the guys, gals too, time to look at the list and ponder on whose got their name up. Whom do you think would be best for the job and for whom you would like to vote for the position?
JM:How many active fire fighters are there?
DR:Right now we have about 35 or so.8.
DR:That is not many; when I was in in the early 1980’s we were closer to a 50 man roster. They had a waiting list. For some reason they had a cap. Many years ago on how many members which is if you think about it, it is kind of crazy, but at the same time they also had a distance. We lived from the old firehouse exactly 2 miles away. I think I remember Dad saying back when he first wanted to join, he couldn’t because he lived too far outside what they considered the fire district at 2 miles away. Then when they opened it up for the membership to be in the whole township of Salisbury, he still had to wait because they had a numbers list of 50. Until somebody stepped out, you couldn’t join. Now if you live in town or if you live in the surrounding towns, you are welcome to join. If you are with another department and you would like to join to help us out, that’s even better yet. We are pretty much standing there with open arms and trying to welcome people in, but it has not been easy to get people because of the age of Salisbury and when you look at the amount of young people…
JM:There aren’t as many as there used to be.
JM: In the 1980’s the school population was a lot bigger than it is now; we had a lot more families in town.
DR:We didn’t have all the video games and the computers so you got outside and did things, physical things. There is really nothing in Salisbury to try to keep the younger generation here. There is not enough work; there is not enough excitement, unless you consider grass growing excitement!
JM:I was talking with Roger McKee and he said he gets very irritated when people want to keep Lakeville the way it is now. He listed 10 different stores or shops that we used to have in the 1960’s that we do not have any more. Now if you want to get a loaf of bread either you go to Salisbury or you go out of Lakeville because there is nothing here.
DR:You can go to Patco, or wait until the next day, maybe to run into Salisbury to La Bonne’s. You really have to leave town to get much of anything. Shop local is bringing a whole new meaning when there is not much to shop from. It is great in theory.
JM:You have to shop the area. How do you know when you get call to a fire? What is the procedure? Do you get a radio call, or do you listen to the siren? How do you know that you have to go to a fire?
DR:It could be a combination of both. We have pagers that are issued to us. When you call 911 the call will go in, depending on the day my wife may answer the phone, Litchfield County Dispatch is at the Torrington Main Station fire house. They take the 911 calls for all of Litchfield County. If it is a police issue, they transfer the call; they will stay on the line with you. They will transfer the call to either Troop B or Troop L depending on the location of your position. You will hear the dispatcher for the police side
or maybe the desk sergeant or desk officer will pick up the phone and say, “Troop B Officer so &so or troop B dispatcher so &so.” Then you would hear them said, “LCD with a caller, go ahead.” As soon as they hear the caller speaking with the dispatcher or the police officer, they disconnect from the call and leave those two to finish the deal. If it is a fire call or an ambulance call, the first question you get asked which people don’t think is the most important, but really it is, “What is the address of your emergency?” Worse -case scenario if you get disconnected in any way, at least they know where to send a police officer to check or maybe the ambulance or the fire department to check. You will have some type of help en route if you are disconnected. Other than that, they will take down the information; it takes about a minute to process the information as it is being given to them. They have two dispatchers (unless it is a storm) that work fire and EMS and they have two dispatchers that work the police side because LCD dispatches Torrington Police as well. While you are speaking to one dispatcher on the phone, the other dispatcher is watching on the screen and they may be toning the fire department out and telling us what we have and where to go to the call or the ambulance.
JM:How many pieces of equipment do you have?
DR:The fire house right now has 9.
JM:What are they?
DR:We have 3 pumpers; first and second due attack trucks as we call them. They are designed to go in and be the base operation to attack a fire. We have choices of which trucks we want there first. We have the tanker which is also is a combination pumper/tanker. We have rescue, and we have our old brush truck which we have converted into a utility truck which is a catch-all. When we need to pick up a lot of hose that is muddy and dirty, we can just throw it in the back of the utility truck and bring it back to the fire house and get it cleaned up and then put it back on the apparatus to get them back in service.
JM:When you suit up for a fire, what do you have to put on?
DR:We have our structural turn-out firefighting gear which is a pair of bunker pants which are car hard bibbed pants but fire protection. We have a bunker coat which goes over that. Then we have our helmet, our gloves, and we also have a hood that we put around our head and neck. Years ago you used to go into a fire before we had the hoods, and you could tell how hot ii was because sometimes your ear lobes would burn. We also have our SCBA, self-contained breathing apparatus. Some people say “oxygen bottles”, but they are technically not an oxygen bottle. It is just regular ambient air that gets compressed and pumped into the bottle. The ones we are using now are approximately 45 minute bottles. It depends on how you are laboring: whether you are doing a search in a building for somebody or whether you doing the actual fire- fighting or overhaul. You have to try to keep yourself paced even though chaos is erupting around you.
JM:What do you wear on your feet?
DR:We used to have rubber hip boots. Now they are changed over to a bunker boot. Those are leather boots with a good heavy rubber sole; they have the plates in them to protect you from punctures and they have a safety toe built into the boot.
JM:How much does all of that weigh?
DR:When you are geared up, you have about 60 pounds, between 45 and 50, but when you start carrying the other tools: your Halogen bar, axes and pike bowls or a hose pack so you can extend the hoses. The hoses that we have on the truck for the initial attack are 200 feet long. When you are parked back 50 to 75 feet away, it eats the hose up pretty quickly. We have other ones that are set to put on your shoulder and carry in with you so you can call back and have the line shut down, hook this hose on and go into the building farther.
JM:I am going to connect the town crew with the fire department. How many members of the town crew are on the fire department?
DR:6 out of 8, it would be 7 if you include the highway foreman.
JM:Have I forgotten anything about the fire department?
DR;I think we have covered it.
JM:OK then we’ll go on to the ambulance. You are both, fire department and ambulance.
DR:Yeah, I guess I would be considered a half per center. I have always known that I have been one of the 1%ers. What a 1%er is, the one % of people as we have been told crazy enough to run towards the danger and the hazards when 99% of the populous is running away from it. With the ambulance and fire department in this town being completely separate and both their own entities, I guess I was glutton for punishment for joining the ambulance as well. I would have had 5 more years on the ambulance that I have. I approached Mike Brenner 5 years back before I joined in 1991. I asked him about joining the ambulance, he looked at me and said, “Come on down. We are doing a training session for EMTs: take the training and join up.” I looked at him and said, “I don’t want to be an EMT, but I would be happy to drive the ambulance so I can free up an EMT from behind the wheel. That would give you another EMT in the back.” That would be a no, we don’t do that. You need to be an EMT. So I let that go. The following year: ”Hi Mike, how are you doing?” “Good, what are you doing?” “Just curious about what I would need to do to join the ambulance?” “Become an EMT, do this.” “No, I don’t want to do that.” Long story short the fifth time Mike said, “Become a bleep EMT and then you can drive.” “I don’t want to be an EMT, and I don’t want to be a bleep EMT, I just want to drive.” He said, “Well forget it.” Just after that the following year, “Hey are you still interested in driving? Because our numbers are dwindling, and the driver situation would be a help.” Then I ended up joining an unofficial group and somebody told me a fib. I wound up taking an MRT class which now is labeled as an EMR; back then MRT was basically a step over the advanced first aid, but it was a medical response technician. I said,” Ok I’ll try it. I really don’t want to do it, but if I don’t make it, it has been fun.” I went to the classes, I
tried it. I did it. All of a sudden I am getting a “Congratulations! You passed!” The following year the leader of that group, the unofficial group of the payback as a club, that happened to come up and I was told that the state has changed things. Now you have to be an EMT, you can’t be an MRT anymore. I really don’t want to do that. I thought something was a little hinky, so I went and talked to a person I thought I could trust to tell me the truth about that. His reply was that he had heard something about that, but he hadn’t looked into it enough to know. That is probably what they are going to do because that is the way they are going. The next thing I know. Ok I’ll take the class and do the training and if I pass, great if not, it was fun while it lasted. This time I am getting a “here is your paperwork, here is your EMT card, you passed,” That was immediately followed up with the most direct look in my eyes that I have ever had by anybody and I was told,” Payback is a bitch, isn’t it?”
That came from Jackie Rice because the first female fire fighter that applied was denied. A couple of other ladies that run the ambulance had talked with Jackie. They said, “We are going to have to break up the men’s club type thing. Why don’t we get applications to join?” I was approached for the applications; then I was giving those out and was told by one person” You are not going to get mine.” The other one told me, “You are not going to get mine either, but you tell Jackie that you have ours. You are waiting for hers.” I figured if two girls want to kick my butt verses one girl, I shall take my chances with the one. That means there is going to be one less foot. As it worked out, the 2 ladies on the night that we had the election for the new people, one called and said, “I am sorry I have a horse that’s having issues. I need to meet the vet so I can’t go down. Can you go down and let me know how I did?” The other one called Jackie and said, “Hey, mom’s not feeling really well. She asked if I could be with her so can you let me know how I did.” Jackie comes down; we open the meeting. We have our vote and we vote Jackie in. I go downstairs to get Jackie and tell her “Come on up and join the meeting.” The next thing I know Jackie is there and asked, “How did the other two do?” As I was walking in front of the rescue, I had one foot in the air. When I told her that they are not in, she grabbed me on the shoulder and before I could put me foot on the ground, she had spun me around and said, ”What!” I told her “They are not in, but you are so we have to go up to the meeting.” We are walking along and she says that she doesn’t understand why they were not in. I told her “They did not give me their paperwork, but I had yours to turn in.” Same thing, my foot was in the air and she spun me around again, “We haven’t got time to argue, about this. We have a meeting we need to be in.” “We ‘re going to talk about this.” “OK but let’s go to the meeting.” So that is how the payback club got me, unfortunately, but I volunteered to be a driver with a little lie or fib about becoming an EMT.
JM:Doesn’t it help just in general with the firefighting to have that extra knowledge.
DR:We have been on some various calls where things have happened. The first thing they do is look around for the EMTs that are firefighters: Find Darin, or Jackie or Mike or somebody who is an EMT and get them over here.
JM:Because it is sort of a 2 way street; they are both service industries, but they do dovetail so all the training that you have had for the fire department can flow over into what you do for the ambulance. That is gravy. It really is, even though it is not the way you wanted it to be.
DR:Well, if you look at the northwest corner, Norfolk, Salisbury, and Canaan are the only non-fire based EMS. Falls Village, Cornwall, Sharon have the Sharon fire Department, Cornwall Dire Department, and Falls Village fire Department –Ambulance. The ambulance goes on all the calls with them; we on the other hand we have select amount of calls that we are automatically dispatched together with. Sometimes if something were to happen on the scene, we have to call dispatch and tell them to send the ambulance to the call because we now need it.
JM:Now the dispatch is the same as it is for the fire department and the same place. What position do you hold in the ambulance squad now, or are you simply a driver?
DR:No I am a driver EMT. With Salisbury we are also a unique ambulance service because we also do auto extrication, rescue, mountain rescue. Although it is all one group, it is a personal and elective thing if you are on the ambulance and want to be part of the rescue group, you can do that. We have a large group that just wants to do the EMS ambulance side and they don’t want to for whatever reason they may have to be part of the rescue. That also entails more training, more time away from family and friends and trying to do things as general life.
JM:It doesn’t happen when you have all this training.
DR:You develop a whole different family.
JM:Yes, you do. You work with one another.
DR:You envelope that which kind of becomes your life and your family.
JM:How many are in the ambulance squad now?
DR:We have about 40.
JM:men and women?
DR:The girls would probably love it because it is about 3 to one or four to one. There are maybe 10 guys, or 12 guys or something like that.
JM:I know in the picture there are more women than there used to be. Do you have any new equipment that you have gotten in the last year or two?
DR:We purchased a new used rescue truck. That came from a department in Waynesboro, Virginia. We did a 20 hour road trip from Salisbury, 450 miles away, but we went down to Waynesboro to inspect the truck to see if it suited Salisbury’s needs. If paid to do the trip to look at the truck, they paid $270,000 for it when they bought it in 2008 which was bran new, we just bought it approximately 9 months ago or maybe a little over a year now, and we purchased it for $162,500. $2,500 was the delivery fee for the truck, so truly for the truck, fully equipped, at 5300 miles on it, the truck was in show room condition. We now have that for Salisbury. We did add on a light tower to make life a little bit easier on us because within 30 seconds you can turn a nighttime accident almost into pure daylight with a 6,000 watt light tower. For one person to be able to set all that up in 30 seconds or so is an incredible time saving event.
JM:How do you finance the ambulance service, just private donation?
DR:100% donation. Our next purchase that we need now is –we have 2 ambulances in town, the call volume went up and they found a need for a second ambulance. Now our ambulance #2 is in need of replacement. The cost is between $235,000 to $250,000.
JM;Can you find a good cream-puff used one?
DR:I have a friend named Kelly Grayson who is a paramedic down in Louisiana. He is a fabulous guy who has written some books and made videos and things on EMS training. He said that the only thing that is driven harder and beaten up more than a taxi cab is an ambulance. To find a good used, let alone cream puff ambulance, it is such a needle in a haystack. Not only that we try to tailor things for Salisbury’s needs, it is the same with our fire apparatus. We try to make it for our needs.
JM:I think the ambulance service started because there was a bad accident in town back in the 1970’s and they had to wait for the ambulance to come from Sharon. Is that sort of right?
DR:I think it was a little before the 1970’s, 1969, late 1960’s and early 1970’s because the ambulance incorporated in 1971.
JM:I know that I have skimmed the ambulance a bit, but I have done several people on the ambulance. Is there anything more that you would like to add to the ambulance portion before we close?
DR:The only time I do not open the door for my wife (Kaki Schafer Reid) now that we have been married 8 years is when we are running out the door to go on an ambulance call. Then she opens her own door and we go. When you are married to the Chief of the Ambulance Service such as I am now, Kaki is awesome. There are a lot of times when the phone is ringing; it could be any time during the day, it has rung at 10 or 11 o’ clock at night all because being as the Chief of the Ambulance, here is a question that she must answer. Sometimes the dispatch center is calling her, although she works there as a 911 dispatcher, because they need the chief to make a decision on something. Kaki is throwing herself in full bore.
JM:Fortunately she has a supportive husband. She is fortunate.14.
DR:210% and she is constantly there; it means a lot to her.
JM:It means a lot to the town to have people like you and Kaki that are willing to give up so much of your time and energy to do this.
DR:She found out early on that the life of an EMT or firefighter is certainly not convenient. It is funny to hear people at times when we’ll go and do a call, you get some of the newer people in town who are not familiar with this life, they just see the ambulance and say, ”Maybe I can do that to help out.” Before they understand this, the newbies will come in “Geez, I had to miss dinner with my wife because a call came in or we were going out to a movie or we were going to go to a concert. I was up all night because of that call.” You just joined a club that does that; you are preaching to the choir. If we wrote all this down and you want to see how many dinners we have missed, how many special occasions we have been called out on like Thanksgiving for fires.
The thing that I find really amusing is when we have a motor vehicle accident; we have the fire police that will block the road, it is incredible 1. How many people either who have lived here all their life or as I personally heard when I asked “How long have you lived here?” They said, “Yeah I am from the area.” “OK you need to go over here.” Well how do you get there?” “I have lived here 13 years.” They didn’t understand that to go from one side of Salisbury to the other the only way they have ever known or ever gone had been via Rt.44. they didn’t know if you turned off on one of the side roads in town, that you can go take a right go to your next road, it may be only a few feet down the road or it may be 2 miles but you can take another right and another right and another right and it will put you back on this road. It is amazing how many people don’t know the area that way. 2. What is even more awesome is when somebody starts getting mad at you because some has hit a telephone pole, knocked it over, the wires are down across the road and for their safety and the safety of the EMS and fire people that are working the scene, the road is closed and they have to go in another direction. It is so amazing when they look at you and tell you how much you are inconveniencing them. Well, let me see. We have some people that say, “Well, I was supposed to have my son or daughter at a baseball or soccer game or brownies or cub scouts. I am supposed to be having dinner with my parents or my mother and father-in-law or we were having a family get together and I am here, not because I did this, but because I am helping. You are mad at me because I am inconveniencing you?
JM:We should be very grateful to you and all of the people that you work with. Thank you so much for giving me your time and all your knowledge. I promise I won’t get mad at you for at least 5 seconds!
DR:Thank you very much and all the effort and energy and time that you are putting in to doing this for the town. It is really outstanding.
JM;It is my pleasure.
DR:I want to thank you for everything that you have done for this.