Before I host my edition of The Handover next month, I felt the need to contribute first. Tactical Pants wants to know what we do with our Downtime. You know, Downtime. Those precious few hours (minutes?) we have between each call. In the last 16 years that I’ve been involved in EMS, I’ve used my downtime in a variety of ways. It seems only fitting though that as I sit here writing this blog, I am enjoying some much needed “away time” which is a little different from downtime.Currently, I am sitting on an enclosed porch, full of burgers cooked up on the grill and fresh Jersey White Corn with a nice cool breeze blowing through the window.Boy, times are good right now.

If it was six years ago, I’d probably be sitting in an ambulance parked on a street corner waiting for my next call, or more commonly, flying across the city lights and sirens to the next “emergency.”Personally though, I like tonight’s events much more. But I digress. Where were we? Oh yes… Downtime!

When I was a volunteer EMT inOcean County,NJone of my more common crew chiefs and I would sit at the station passing the daily crossword puzzle back and forth.It was a great way to kill time and keep our minds sharp.There always seemed like there was lots of work to do during our downtime back then.We had trucks to check, paperwork to enter into our computer system, and supply orders to be tallied and submitted, but we always found time for our Crosswords.

Thanks, Joey.

When I moved on to Urban EMS, it was time for me to learn about mobile posting. We had a unique group working weekend overnights though. Our trucks would move around the city like a wagon train from common post to common post.We always had toys to keep ourselves occupied: Frisbees, hacky sacks, footballs, and even headrolls that we could play dodgeball with.On one particular night, I remember sitting out in lawn chairs in the darkest spot that we could find trying to get enough time away from the excitement of the city to watch a 3am meteor shower.I miss those days sometimes.It wasn’t just the excitement of working Fridays and Saturdays, but it was also the camaraderie I felt, and the way all six trucks worked together.

Now, downtime often escapes me.Even in my crazier hacky sack and dodge ball days, I kept a book on the dashboard for those times when no one was around, or we were too rough around the edges from the night (or morning) before.As a Supervisor, my plate is pretty full.Time not spent on calls (which often isn’t enough for me) is spent checking up on crews, and visiting facilities.Lately though, I’ve done my best to find time during my two overnights to park someplace for a while, open up my Netbook and start writing.That’s a lot of what lead me to start this blog.For the last couple of months, the ideas have just kept flowing.

If I had my chance, I’d try to polish off a book on every rotation or two.I feel that reading makes me a better writer, but I also feel that I don’t get to read enough.It’s a goal for me to set, and something to strive for.

Until then though, I will keep grinding along, and when that downtime does present itself to me, I will use it as best I can.