By Becky Holland , firstname.lastname@example.org
MARSHALL – Joey Hudson, assistant fire chief of the city of Marshall Fire Department, just completed his 16th year as a member of the MFD.
Prior to coming to Marshall, he was employed for two years at Raton Fire and Emergency Services in Raton, New Mexico.
For Hudson, his interest in the fire and EMS profession began early in life. “It was after working two summers at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. As an Eagle Scout, I served on Philmont staff as a Philmont Ranger. One of my duties was to be ready to serve on search and rescue teams in the backcountry of the Sangre de Christo Mountains as needed,” Hudson wrote in response to an email interview the Piney Woods News did with him.
“It was interesting work and we were called at a moment’s notice to go and help scouts and adults scout leaders who became lost, injured, or ill in the mountains. I liked being a part of a team that was ready to serve, knowledgeable and capable, and the feeling of accomplishment when we successfully completed our task,” he said.
Hudson works with recruiting of firefighters as well. When asked what one should do to prepare for a career in fire service, he said, “The first thing that someone should do to prepare themselves for a successful career in the fire service is to enroll in and successfully complete an EMT-Basic or EMT-Paramedic course.”
“Medical training and certification are essential to obtaining Firefighter certification. After becoming certified as an EMT or Paramedic, the next step is to enroll in and successfully complete Firefighter certification training. All of the members of the Marshall Fire Department are dual certified as EMT’s, Paramedics, and Firefighters,” Hudson wrote.
“The EMT-Basic certification training is usually one semester long and Paramedic certification training can take from 12 to 24 months. Both of these programs involve classroom and lab hours along with a varying amount of clinical hours to be completed with an EMS provider and at a hospital,” he said, adding, “Fire certification training is accomplished through a three-month fire academy. Completing these classes is just one part of the process. State regulatory agencies such as the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP), National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), and the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) require passing agency exams to become certified.”
In looking for candidates as firefighters, Hudson said MFD looks for those who fit certain values. “The core values of the Marshall Fire Department are service, bravery, excellence, professionalism, and integrity. It is imperative that our employees demonstrate all of these qualities in their personal and professional lives.”
As a firefighter with MFD, there are several roles that one can serve in his or her career. “The various positions of the Marshall Fire Department are Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Fire Prevention, Fire Investigation, Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management, and Training. The Firefighter position begins at the entry-level,” Hudson said. “Through longevity, seniority, competitive exam, advanced certifications, training, education, and promotion, members have opportunities to serve in the different divisions of the department.”
When asked as a final question, if there was one misconception that he would like to clear up about the duties of a firefighter/paramedic, Hudson named two.
“Number one, we are not ‘ambulance drivers.’ We are EMT’s and Paramedics that deliver advanced pre-hospital emergency care,” Hudson said. “We treat minor to major medical illnesses and injuries, administer IV therapy, administer life-saving medications, and interpret heart rhythms with skill and precision … and drive ambulances.”
Hudson concluded, “Number two, unlike you see on television, most structure fires are not lightly filled with smoke and natural gas fires popping up all around you. When we enter a structure fire, we usually can’t see our own hand in front of our faces. “
He said, “The smoke is blacker than night, hot, filled with acrid and deadly particles that could easily ignite in the air as it surrounds you. You have to get low, very low, use all of your senses, and seek out the faint orange glow of the seat of the fire that has created the blackness. In other words, it’s nothing like ‘Backdraft.’”