And Now a Word From The Sponsor

Welcome to my site and thank you for reading. After many times thinking, if only I had a blog, well-- here we are. This blog will feature writings on a variety of topics from roadside food, to leadership in the fire service; politics; culture- gay, straight, and indifferent, my experiences in Ohio, New York and beyond; and much much more. It's my hope that you will find it interesting and that it stirs at least some thought and discussion. I am certain you wont always agree, but that is what its all about right? Oh and one more thing: The views expressed on this site are entirely my own. They do not reflect in anyway the views or positions of my employer.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Colder than Ice

The Beginning 

It is one of my best heart pulling stories. 
Does any subject perk an ear like an unrequited first love? 
You make the perfect villain. 
Even today the details sometime elicit an audible gasp. 
A story told in excruciating detail with all the crescendo of Bach, but not much of the grace. 
Eighteen years have not lessened the effect of the tale on me either. 
It is just as striking to new ears as when it eroded a canyon across my heart. 
I don't exaggerate...much. 
I tell it the way it went down, from the perspective of my living memory. 
It is not hard to navigate something when you are so close to its surface. 
When time has only made the canyons more distinct-- and more permanent. 
At least scars have to have healed in some way-- right? 
There were a few times that were amazing. 
There were a few times that almost were. 
There was that night that you and your new boyfriend kept me awake in the other room. 
Me drunk and not passed out enough on the couch to avoid the repeated sounds of my dream being lived and loved by someone else. 

The Middle 

This story has become my own Jefferson Memorial and Grand Canyon rolled into one. 
A scar and and an idea and a man. 
Larger than life.  
Longer than it ever needed to be. 
A testament to a dream. 
And something to be gawked at my tourists and visitors-- hearing the tale-- taking their photos
but eventually walking away to a new experience, new thought, new dream. 

The End 

I went back there the other night. 
I have been a few times. 
We even had an award lunch a few years ago. 
An odd scene for reasons I did not understand then, 
did not understand until last night. 
My greatest story passed 18 inches in front of me. 
Just like it was. 
A smiling face on the other side of that same damn bar. 
You even look the same. 
Maybe I do. 
Except that I am thinner. 
I know that I am older too. 
Wiser? Stronger? More Aware? 
Maybe.  Maybe Not. 
My greatest story-- 18 inches away
And not even a look, or a glance, or a hug or a how-ya-been. 
Whatever was is now not even strong enough to draw attention away from the ice bucket. 
It was then I realized, I was standing in a memorial. 
In a monument to a an idea.  To a dream. 
A cold stone edifice to something that was real, only for a moment. 
No more alive now than the ice that crashed into the slop sink. 

The Beginning 

It made me wonder, what do you call the person who never leaves the memory? 
Who lives among the cold granite. 
And tells others about it with the pride reserved for some great accomplishment
or success. 
He who lives clinging to the branches of the dead tree-- longing for the blooms of a spring that only ever lived in imagination. 
He who so desperately wants to have something to say. 
A story to tell. 
a sympathetic ear. 
On a deep midwest winter night, 
when the stars shown like diamonds.
In a place I have been so many times before
I came to know I am not the hero of my own story.  Yet. 
I am just one more victim, one more canyon, one more monument. 
A stop on the open air bus for the tourists to photograph
and then move on. 

I think it is time to tell a new story. 

(C) Christopher Blake Carver-- 2017 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cold Black Mornings

It occurs to me on cold black mornings
that every connection has started with the same fuel. 
A combustion of desperation, fear, alcohol, and determination. 
Those few ingredients can drive a heart only so far, 
before the entire proposition clutters to a stop. 
Not with the graceful arrival of a bird or the soft settling of a fall brown leaf. 
More like the crashing of an idea that just never had enough to make it work. 
Never enough passion. 
Never enough dedication. 
Never enough honesty. 
Love can make magical things happen, 
it can defy the rules of physics--time--logic-- of sanity. 
It can drive the power of the possible forth from a burning home where somehow-- 
they survived. 
It can bring out the happy ending with the slamming doors and teary nights said all else was lost. 
It can push a person to greatness even when their doubts and fears make the sky so black
they can't even see their insides. 
I know I have said the word. 
I know I have heard the word. 
But sometimes I have to wonder, 
have I lived the word? 

(c) Christopher Blake Carver-- 2017 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Strolling By The Danube

How often do we permit the comment, the glance, the attitude or the fear
to distract us from the real 
the important 
the beautiful. 
Someone fights for freedom and dies 
We argue about fashion. 
A love is born and grows and fades
and we bicker about money. 
The glorious wonder of an ancient city invites us in
and our mind turns away to some distant slight. 
We meet the one 
and we focus on the doubt
or some unworthy opinion 
or some unimportant mind. 
God grant me the serenity, 
to walk along the river and be in awe 
to look into his eyes and be in awe 
to feel the beat of my own heart and be in awe 
to look upon your world and know it is good. 
No matter what they might say. 

(c) Christopher Blake Carver 2017 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dispatching IS a Profession...So What?

Those that find themselves under a headset forty hours a week (or more) know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dispatching is a profession.  It is not like any other job title that anyone could ever hold.  Not even our sister and brother public safety professionals who serve as Police Officers, Firefighters, or Paramedics know truly the nature, complexities and demands of our role.  I have heard it from more than a few that anyone who in those job titles  can just sit down and follow what the computer says and be a dispatcher. One such believer was a smart and shrewd soul, but he couldn't look me in the eye when he said them.  I am certain he knew better-- for all badges may be equal, but they are not the same.  

And that leads me to my question.  For those of you who know better because you have been in the seat.  For those who have handled the crazy normal days and the crazy crazy days: what are YOU doing to share the nature of our profession with others?  How do you advocate for what we do and who we are?  Don't you dare say its not your job.  Don't you dare say it's not your responsibility.  

If we want to be recognized and understood as a profession it is not going to happen because we tweet, although that may help.  It will not happen because we share Facebook memes. It will not happen because of joint meeting of Police and Fire Chiefs and Town Council people decide to bestow upon us our rightful status. 

It will happen because we demand to participate in table top exercises.  It will happen because we make a compelling argument for why we need more people. It will happen because we educate those we serve about why its not just "picking up a phone".  It will happen because we make a concerted effort to be the best dispatch professional we can possibly be.  There are literally thousands of ways to get involved: Pick one.  And do it.  

Respect is earned, even from ourselves.  As the time comes for New Year's Resolutions and current year reviews, let us resolve to make this year the one where people outside our comm centers and PSAPs begin to understand what we have always known: That we are Professionals. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Columbus Fire: Moving to the Future

Kudos to the Columbus Division of Fire for taking steps to address their EMS service challenges. Given the many factors at play, this is probably the best approach they could have selected. However, by no means should this be the last step.  As I detailed in a recent post, CFD remains woefully behind schedule in the construction of new Fire Stations.  So much so, that their over reliance on automatic aid partners will only grow unless dramatic steps are taken in the immediately future.  This has the potential to move the problem of overworked paramedics from the City (who collects the tax dollars)  to the Townships and Surrounding Cities (but who do not collect taxes to provide these services). 

To remedy this situation several steps should be explored in the near future: 

1) Building temporary, medic only, fire stations in outlying areas, or quartering CFD medic units in the closest township/suburban fire stations to service areas that CFD is unable to effectively handle at this time. 

2) Deployment models should be adjusted to not simply assign a mutual aid medic to City runs in every case.  A more dynamic and resilient deployment model, which accommodates nearest transport units for high priority medical cases but utilizes CFD medics for BLS runs, should be deployed.  

3) Peak Time Medic Units should be placed in areas not just based on the volume of calls in the area, but based on overall response times and number of incidents handled by mutual aid, with the reality being that the best areas to cover with extra resources may shift over a 24 hour period.  For example, Polaris may need an additional medic unit during the day time hours, but not at night, when that unit could be better utilized in the West Side or Fairwood Avenue Area.  

4) The program of utilizing ladders for Extrication Runs should be continued and expanded.  

5) The Heavy Rescue Units should, for now, be maintained, and should be the first piece selected to assist Medic Units when they are nearby, instead of Engine Companies.  This preserves the Engines for Fires and additional EMS runs.  

6) CFD should work with the City Administration to develop a comprehensive CFD 2025 plan-- focusing on the goals of response time, reduced reliance on mutual aid, and other performance benchmarks that will guide a major bond issue intended to "catch up" CFD to where it needs to be. 

The first steps have been taken.  The current CFD administration is demonstrating its understanding that the Status Quo must change.  That should be applauded, but the work must continue. 

Walking in the Redwoods

I recently completed one of my essential mind clearing trips.  A journey of about six thousand miles which took me from Columbus to California, Las Vegas, and Wyoming.  The goal is always to find something or someone that inspires or illuminates or, in a worst case scenario, reminds me of what I like about where I live and the people I am fortunate to know.  

A central element of this annual quest is to go somewhere I have never been, in the hope that such a place will help me to understand better myself or those around me.  In this season of crazy-- when so many people I have been touched by have passed away, when so many institutions I have cared about are teetering, when so many of my friends (and me) are truly scared of the future-- I give you the Redwood Forests of California.  

These trees tower over the observer, over the surrounding hillsides, over everything around them.  Their scale can not be explained or described.  It can only be witnessed. They are much like Niagara Falls, Love, or an amazing diner that stands as a monument to who were we were and, in more ways than we know, still are.  

I can not post a photo of the Redwoods here and have it mean anything to you, so I am not even going to try.  But what I will share is this.  The Redwoods grow so tall and are so inspiring not because they root themselves deep into the ground.  They do not tie into bedrock like a skyscraper to support their foundation.  No.  Their roots are actually quite shallow.  What they do to survive is to entangle themselves in a web of support with all the trees around them.  Their literal support system ensures that they can ward off invasive pests, pass along nutrients, and care for sick relatives.  This underground structure is the key to their very survival.  

Even in the event of a fire or flood, the roots stay connected and it is then that an even greater insight occurs.  It is only from the fires and floods and the tragedies that new Redwoods can grow.  Otherwise, the undergrowth is too deep and thick to permit the seed to reach the forest floor.  Life must come-- does come-- from death.  And in the sad event that a Redwood does manage to fall, from its trunk will spring the start of new life. On every fallen Redwood trunk can be found the sprouts of a new Redwood that will, in time, honor its parent by climbing higher and taking its place in the canopy.   

The system is beautiful and complete.  It is is Life, Death, and Life again, all in perfect harmony, exactly as it should be.  

In our season of rushing.  In our time of trying to be perfect, finding the right card, the right gift, or the right word, let us take just a moment and marvel at the wonderful world we are a part of. The reality that life can spring- does spring- from the darkest times and that life and our future depends not on us weathering alone this crazy world, but on us all seeing the value connecting with each other. Let us take from these beautiful ancient beings the understanding that we will only reach the possible of just how high we can rise when we live as one family-- caring and supporting each other. No matter what may come.  Fire or Flood.  Sunshine or Rain.  They go on, so must we.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Map of the Future

When people talk about the need for additional fire stations in Columbus, I don't think they realize just how big the scale of the issue is.  Much like in the late 1880s and the late 1950s, Columbus finds itself needing at least ten new fire stations.  

To provide some idea of where they are needed, check out the map this link: Proposed CFD Stations  You will find some suggestions that might be new or perhaps controversial.  Not the least of which is fixing the location of Station 28 and placing a new firehouse on the north end of Easton.  Additional "in-fill" stations are identified for Marion-Franklin, Frank Road, and Trabue Road.  As a reminder, in developed areas, the standard is that every address should be within 1.5 miles of a fire station.  

In some of these cases, it may be time to work with surrounding departments to identify ways to cooperate on firehouse construction.  For example, a new 12s could be built to house both CFD Station-12 and Franklin Township 192s.  Same on Frank Road where a new firehouse could serve both the needs of Columbus and Station 193.  In the growing area west of Station-34, located not far from a proposed Washington Township fire station, a cooperative effort may also be the way to go.  

No matter how the solution is reached, however, Columbus is far behind in its need to add fire stations in both the outlying areas of the city as well as some of the urban core.  The impending construction of Station 35 on Waggoner Road is a start, but it must be followed up by a concerted effort to catch-up or response times to fires and emergencies, as well as dependency on mutual aid partners, will only increase.