by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Although Elburn & Countryside Fire Department Assistant Chief Wayne Stevens is ready to retire, he is sad about leaving his co-workers.
â€œI am going to miss the people. Because the Fire Department is not trucks and buildings and hoses and ambulances, it’s the people that work here, it’s the heart and soul and dedication that they have,â€ he said.
Stevens added that he has valued the tight-knit community of EMS and the fire service, which stems from its members working and living closely together, accomplishing a lot together, and building a bond of trust.
â€œFor example, you have an extrication that you have to accomplish, where you have to cut somebody out of a car. If I am taking care of the patient,â€ he said. â€œI’m inside the car, underneath the blanket, and I need to count on my partner to keep us both safe but yet get us out of the vehicle. And I do, because there is that trust.â€
Sometimes, after ambulance calls that are particularly challenging, it is difficult for the EMTs and firefighters who responded to go home afterward. That is when the co-worker support was particularly valuable to Stevens.
â€œIt’s hard because your spouse didn’t go through that, so to go home and flip that switch from what you just saw, to helping cook dinner, is a very hard switch to flip,â€ Stevens said. â€œAnd that’s where that group is so important, because you stay with that group until you diffuse those feelings that you have, or until you understand those feelings that you have, so that you can go home and function as you’re supposed to at home.â€