Lights and Sirens: The Education of a Paramedic

Kevin Grange. Berkley, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-425-27523-8
Writer and paramedic Grange (Beneath Blossom Rain) unleashes a memoir of his grueling training at UCLA's elite Daniel Freeman Paramedic Program, which entails four months of classroom training, two months of hospital shifts honing clinical skills, and another three months of "field internship" with paramedics assigned to the Los Angeles Fire Department's station in Wilmington. The former EMT begins his training full of confidence and ambition, but he quickly finds the fraught journey to be laced with fear of failure and daunting challenges—as well as unimaginable, justified pride. Grange adopts "the best way out is through" as his motto, but his hardest lesson becomes understanding the essence of providing care: getting it done. "There was an obstacle on every 911 call, and ‘getting it done' meant rising to the challenge; not shying away from the moment, but plunging into the fire," he writes. It also meant that "you let go of excuses and, instead, did everything in your power to save someone's life." Grange's narrative is both exciting and terrifying, and it pays heartfelt tribute to pre-hospital emergency care that's akin to "waking people up from the dead," as well as to the courage and kindness of his fellow paramedics. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/20/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
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