The 1970’s would be a decade of change in reality
as well as movie scripts.  When I became a
Baltimore City police officer in 1971, my first
assignment was walking a foot post on E. North
Avenue.  I quickly located the Firehouse at North
Avenue and Bond Street where Engine 19 and
Ambo #3 were assigned.  Over the next twenty
years I’d see a lot of the firefighters and paramedics
from that house.  During the 70’s and 80’s, Engine
19 and Ambo #3 frequently held the title of being
the busiest Engine and Ambulance in the entire city.

When you become a police officer, you’re going to
learn that a special relationship exists between
police officers and paramedics.  You’ll be sitting in
your car writing a report when a call comes over
your radio to “assist the medics” at location so and
so.  You’ll drop whatever you’re doing and you’ll
speed to that location just as you would if a fellow
police officer were calling for help.  Such calls won’t
be that frequent for firefighters.  After all, people
don’t tend to mess that much with a bunch of guys
armed with axes and long poles with steel hooks on
the ends.  However, paramedics are a different
story.  Paramedics frequently find themselves in
hostile situations and environments armed only with
their goodwill.  

I can’t begin to count the number of times I called
for paramedics to assist victims of shootings,
stabbings, beatings and every other form of
emergency medical need.  I vividly remember when
the expertise of paramedics was coming of age
when the back of that ambulance became a mini
emergency room where the paramedics fed
telemetry to the hospital emergency room and a
doctor in the ER would direct treatment to stabilize
the patient for transport.  Ironically, this incredible
advancement in emergency medical treatment
caused a lot of problems in the form of irate
onlookers demanding that the ambulance speed off
to the hospital.  I remember arresting a few of
those idiots who just couldn’t get it through their
heads that the paramedics were ensuring that the
patient would reach the emergency room alive.
My Favorite Paramedics
During my long police career, I was very fortunate
to have never sustained an injury serious enough
to require the assistance of paramedics.  That all
changed in the early morning hours of November
27, 2009.  By the time I was flat on my back and
sweating like a race horse, I finally came to the
realization that I was suffering a heart attack.  
There are some gaps in my memory of that
morning, but I vividly remember the sense of calm
that came over me when those paramedics walked
through the door.  The medics, Chris Strippel and
Tonya Bare, quickly diagnosed the heart attack and
began life saving measures.  Additional firefighters
responded to assist the medics, and I remember
concentrating on being a good patient as I made my
body as rigid as possible when they lifted me onto
the stretcher.  Of course, nobody’s perfect.  Once
inside the ambulance, I remember Paramedic Chris
Strippel saying to me, “I’m going to give you four
aspirin” as he held the tablets in his hand in front of
my face.  I replied, “I can’t swallow those without
water.”  I’m sure in his mind Strippel said to himself,
“You chew them, dummy.”  Of course, he didn't say
that.  His response was a simple, “Just chew

I’m a big believer in fate.  Well…fate was again on
my side that morning – the paramedics were
stationed only three blocks from my home, and
they were in house.  I was rushed to a top heart
hospital only six miles away where a top rate
surgical team headed by Dr. Michael Pressel, my
third hero of the day, was quickly assembled.  Dr.
Pressel would subsequently describe to me just how
sick I was that morning.  Despite complications
during surgery and a two day stay in intensive care,
I came through the ordeal with an excellent
prognosis.  It’s no overstatement when I say that a
President of the United States could not have
received timelier nor better quality care than I
received.  There’s no question in my mind that my
survival was only made possible by the rapid
response, dedication, and expertise of those
fantastic paramedics.
Emergency Medical Services Division
The Fire Department's Emergency Medical
Services Division responds to emergency
calls involving injury or illness. More than
70 percent of calls received by the Fire
Department are medical calls.

Medic units (often called ambulances) are
housed in fire stations alongside fire
apparatus, and all career and many
volunteer personnel are trained in both
EMS and fire suppression. The
Department operates 31 career advanced
life support medic units; the Baltimore
County Volunteer Firemen's Association
operates 17 medic units.  All career fire
apparatus are equipped with automatic
external defibrillators, used to treat
sudden cardiac arrest victims.  Eight EMS
district officers supervise daily EMS
Paramedics are the highest level of pre-hospital
providers; EMTs are the basic level personnel
Baltimore City Fire Department - Operations
personnel work out of 40 neighborhood fire
stations. These stations house about 100
firefighting, emergency medical and special
operations companies. These units include 36
engine companies, 19 ladder companies, 22
first-line medic units, 4 critical alert medic units, 4
rescue squads and a heavy rescue as well as
specialty units such as hazmat trucks, collapse
rescue vehicles, mobile command vehicles and
various fire boats.
Maryland State Police Trooper/Flight
Paramedic - The single most difficult part of
becoming a Trooper / Medic is becoming a Maryland
State Trooper. As you have seen on this website,
you will be required to undergo the same training as
every other Trooper. This includes the residential
State Police Academy. Once you graduate from the
Academy and complete Field Training, you will be
assigned to a Barrack. You may then submit a
request to transfer into the Aviation Command. The
Command maintains an eligibility list that is based
on your experience and qualifications, as well as the
results of a skills assessment and interview.
Police and
"When you become a police officer, you’re
going to learn that a special relationship exists
between police officers and paramedics."
~ Barry M. Baker
I like to watch cop movies made in the
1940’s and 50’s.  In many of those movies there
comes a point when a wounded or injured person is
placed in an ambulance for a trip to the hospital.  
It's always a pretty simple process where the victim
is put on a stretcher and pushed into the back of a
station wagon or van with little more than the odd
bandage in the way of emergency medical
During your time in the police academy,
you’ll receive training in basic lifesaving techniques.  
Depending upon your level of interest, you’ll have
opportunities to acquire advanced levels of training.  
During my twenty years as a patrol officer, I was
assigned to Baltimore City’s Eastern District which
was only 2 ½ square miles in size.  Ambo #3 was
stationed in the center of the district, and Johns
Hopkins Hospital set just one block beyond the
district’s southern boundary, so about the only
emergency medical care I needed to worry about
providing was applying pressure to control bleeding;
clearing an airway or encountering a woman in
childbirth.  To say that I was spoiled would be an
understatement.  I even lucked out on the childbirth
thing when I witnessed an automobile accident at an
intersection.  When I got to the vehicles, I
encountered a woman about to give birth.  Her
husband was rushing her to the hospital when he
learned that blowing his horn had no effect on
traffic control devices.  Fortunately for both the
woman and me, the accident occurred on that
southern boundary I mentioned.  I only had to
transport that lady one block to the hospital.  I got
her there with at least a full minute to spare before
things started happening.

Here’s the most important thing for you to
remember.  They’ll be many times when, while on
patrol, you’ll observe an ambulance setting in front
of a location with its emergency lights activated.  
Get into the habit of stopping and checking on the
welfare of those paramedics.  One thing that
paramedics and police officers have in common is
that they continually respond to calls which on the
surface…we shall say, appear to be routine.  But,
like police officers, paramedics frequently walk into
situations which will be anything but routine.  Unlike
police officers, paramedics do not possess the
power of arrest or the same means to resist force
with force.  Your consideration and presence will
always be appreciated.
Baltimore County Fire Department
Paramedics Tonya Bare and
Chris Strippel

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker