(Jackson, Wyo.) - "On the first day of my internship in paramedic school, the second call at 10 a.m. was for a shooting," he said. "They shot 9 rounds at a guy riding his bike. Luckily, he only got hit once." This was Kevin Grange's first day as a paramedic in Los Angeles. Now, the local firefighter has told those stories in his memoir, “Lights and Sirens.” Grange grew up in New Hampshire, attended college in Seattle and then moved to Southern California to work in real estate with his brother. "I liked the customer service aspect, but my heart wasn't really into it," said Grange about his career in real estate. "We grew up having a volunteer fire station across from our house, so as a kid I would watch the volunteers and was really interested in the fire department," he said. He decided to make a career move and took an EMT class. He worked as an EMT for a few years, then enrolled in paramedic school at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). The intense, three-tier paramedic program was the inspiration for his book. For paramedic school, Grange spent the first portion in the classroom, the second in clinicals at an emergency room and the last in an internship with the Los Angeles Fire Department in an inner-city fire station. After a few years working in LA and then Compton, CA as a paramedic, Grange was ready for something new. "I really loved working in the city, but my heart has always been in the outdoors," he said. He was hired as a paramedic at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park for the past two summers and worked in Yosemite National Park in the winter. He attended the Park Service Fire Academy for his fire fighter training. Last fall, he was hired as a full time firefighter and paramedic with Jackson Hole Fire/EMS. But moving from a busy city with violent crimes to Wyoming didn't make things any easier. "In the city, we have a high call volume, but on the other hand you have a hospital on every corner. You get the skill of running a lot of calls and a lot of different calls, but you always have the hospital five minutes away. In a way that can be a crutch," said Grange. "Whereas out here, I really like it because it is a wilderness urban interface. You are with the patient a lot longer. You get to use more of your critical thinking skills and treatment protocols. The challenge out here is really what attracts me." Additionally, he appreciates the high level of professionalism and care of the local first responders and medical team. "I don't know if people know how good the emergency medical care is Jackson Hole. There are some of the best paramedics, EMTs, firefighters, search and rescue volunteers, physicians and nurses that I have ever worked with because they are very well trained, stay current with continuing education, and—above all—are compassionate and care about their patients,” he said. “Additionally, the relationship we have with the Emergency Department at St. John’s Medical Center is truly unique. When we bring a patient to the hospital, the doctors and ED staff are always open to answering our questions, sharing their wisdom with us and explaining their treatment plan so we are constantly learning and growing.” Last summer, after three years of writing, Grange released “Lights and Sirens.”[image: Inline image 1] "As a writer, you are always looking for untold stories and you want to give the reader a glimpse into a profession or adventure that they didn't know about," said Grange. "I saw that in EMTs and Paramedics. People know what we do and they see us in the ambulance, but they don't know what goes on inside the ambulance, they don't know the training we go through. The writer in me saw this untold story. And of course there is a lot of drama with all the 911 calls." This is Grange's second book. His first book, “Beneath Blossom Rain,” followed a 24-day trek though the Himalayas in Bhutan. While the two books may seem opposite, Grange says that the common theme is overcoming obstacles through teamwork. "It is about teamwork. That is what I love about the fire department, we are a team," he said. "And I love working with people, learning from them and hopefully they are learning from me." For now, he is focusing on getting better acquainted with the fire department and learning more about the town. He is also enjoying the area by hiking, skiing, rafting, mountain biking and just getting outdoors. "Mainly, I just wanted to share my great experience, celebrate the profession and the people who I have met in the profession, because I am really inspired by all of the EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters with whom I have worked," he added. Learn more about Grange's book, Lights and Sirens, here.
*Feature Photo: Kevin Grange. h/t Kevin Grange / Pitchengine Communities*