Shaun Rogers

Shaun Rogers is a firefighter – emergency medical technician at Fire station No. 2 located near the Main Exchange on Fort Lee, Va.

Position: Firefighter – emergency medical technician

Place of duty: Fire station No. 2 located near the Main Exchange

Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.

Time as firefighter: 16 years at stations here, in California and South Carolina

Duties: “We respond pretty much to everything on base – from hazmat (hazardous materials) to rescues to stuck elevators to fire calls to emergency medical situations. It is our role to participate in all of that to include driving the ambulance and rendering care in the back (of the vehicle) and frequently riding on the ladder truck. It’s multi-faceted.”

Explain the difference between EMT and paramedic: “To be a firefighter at Fort Lee, you have to be a firefighter-EMT at the minimum. In the U.S., there are paramedics, intermediates and EMTs. Paramedics are the highest level of medical care you can get … pre-hospital. We also have firefighter-paramedic positions. They are advanced life-support providers. They get a bump in grade, and are basically in charge of the medical mission for us.”

What happens at a fire station on a daily basis? “We work 48 hours on and 48 hours off. We do shift changes at 7:30 in the morning. We do a morning meeting, then everything starts with making sure our equipment is ready – fire pumps, ladders etc. A lot of it is cleaning (vehicles) and maintaining a good appearance. That’s one thing the department emphasizes. On the backside of that, there are a lot of barracks here full of Soldiers who are up at 3 in the morning getting ready for PT, so we’re usually running medical calls during those early hours.  Between the hotel and barracks, we make a lot of calls due to the sheer amount of people concentrated in those areas.”

The aspect of your job that challenges you most: “Staying up-to-date with the changes in the fire and EMS fields (equipment, procedures, etc.). It seems every couple of years they come out with something new, exciting and interesting. Working for the federal government, you hear about these things happening in larger cities. This is a smaller department and kind of tucked away. Richmond may get the newest, coolest thing tomorrow, but it may take us a while to get it. We’re constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve, I guess.”

Talk about the most challenging events for the fire station: “A big one is cardiac arrests. Somebody is going through the worst time of their life; they are basically dying in that moment – and then you’re able to (perform CPR and) get them to the ER and you see they have a heart rhythm. You basically brought them back to life. That’s life-changing, especially the first one you run.”

What you love most about your position: “I really love helping people. I know that sounds like a canned answer, but I really enjoy it when you can pull up at the commissary and a family comes out and the kids’ eyes light up because they want to look at the truck. I love that part of it. Also, the brotherhood and sisterhood we have in the station is great. We’re always trying to help each other out. You work for the Army, but inside that circle, we also have the fire department family. That’s kind of cool to have.”

What you don’t love: “Being away from the family ... It’s give-and-take. I don’t see myself doing anything different. I really enjoy the job, but you are away from your family a lot.”

Your chief motivation: “I think the biggest thing motivating me is being able to come in and socialize – you know, that brotherhood-sisterhood camaraderie. The other part is that it’s a neat job. You get to see a different side of things the general public doesn’t get to see.”

Your greatest achievement: “My kids.”

Where you’d most like to live: “We actually moved to Richmond because we like the area. We live in Hanover (a suburban county). The schools are great, and there are tons of stuff to do in the area.”

Worst fear: “Something happening to my family.”

The talent you would most like to have: “I’d like to be able to juggle. I’ve tried. I can’t do it.”

The historical figure or celebrity you would like to meet: “George Washington – to be in that moment when stuff was not going good (during the Revolutionary War) and just being able to pick his mind to learn what he was thinking.”

Favorite quote or saying: “Make good decisions.”

What would surprise people about you: “A lot of people don’t know I’m into carpentry. I build a lot of things like cabinets, entertainment centers, etc.”

If you could do anything, anywhere right now, what and where would that be? “I’d be with my family hanging out on the beach.”

Your role models: “One of my role models is a good friend who works for the federal government out in California. Doug Christie is his name. He came into the government at a late age. He was a police officer at Edwards Air Force Base, and got promoted through the ranks. I think he’s now a GS-14 program manager … he’s got a couple of (working) groups he’s set up between agencies and he solves problems. I wish I had the knowledge he has to do stuff like that. I count him as a mentor.”

Your future plans: “My goal is to eventually get promoted within the fire service.”