A Bit about Myself
A lot of people who have read my articles and newsletter and heard me speak have asked questions about me – some of them quite personal. So, below is some information about me.
51 years old, divorced, and I do the shared parenting thing with my ex-wife to two great little girls. Caida is 10 years old and Chloe is 13. I think when they both hit the teen years they are going to drive me nuts. Sometimes, they say I’m mean and I yell too much. Maybe they’re right …well at least some of the time.
I grew up in the inner city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. To give you some idea of what the neighborhood was like… we used to go to Fargo, North Dakota for holidays and a good time. I’m just kidding, Winnipeg is a great city.
I attended a trade school instead of a “normal school”. The tests the school gave us said I wasn’t college material. So I became a machinist.
I boxed very competitively from ages 15 to 23. I may have lost some brain cells, but most of them are intact…I think. Golden Glove champion for three straight years and I still pound away on the heavy bag.
I’ve had a lot of jobs. Dishwasher, sewer maintenance (you know what kind of job it was but hey, someone had to do it), paving crews, maintenance worker on the kill floor at a meat packing plant, snowplow driver, and many more. I’ve been working as a firefighter and paramedic for over 23 years now.
I’m proud of the jobs I’ve had in the past. I met many wonderful people and learned a lot from every job. Also, working many different jobs has shown me how dangerous workplaces can be.
How I got interested in working in the Emergency Services
While working in the National Parks as a laborer, I was able to train with the park rangers and wardens in mountain rescue. I was an avid mountain climber and skier back then. I helped the rangers deal with highway crashes and other emergencies. I liked the action and decided to finish my grade twelve (by correspondence) and go to college to take the paramedic program.
Why I do What I Do
People ask why I speak and write on injury prevention. Here’s why.
When I first started in this field I wanted to be where the action was. I never wished that someone would be seriously injured, but if someone was going to be injured, I wanted to be there. I wanted the opportunity to test my skills. Throughout the years I’ve had more than enough opportunity to that.
After I had my own kids, responding to those serious calls started to bother me. I got tired of seeing people hurt and killed, and I got tired of seeing children cry because Mommy or Daddy were hurt or dead. So I started to think about what I could do to prevent these things from happening in the first place, or at least reduce their occurrences. And that’s how I got started in injury prevention.
The next few lines will give you further insight as to why I do what I do.
Worst emergency call I have ever attended
Early in my career I attended a fire started in the kitchen of a mobile home. Two adults died of smoke inhalation in their beds. They never knew what happened.
Four young children slept in two other bedrooms. One of the children had a habit of wondering around at night so the parents put a lock on the door leading outside. The lock was out of their reach. When the fire started, the children couldn’t get out and burned to death. They were piled up at the door burned beyond recognition.
I worked part time at the hospital for extra money, as I was a student paramedic at the time. I sometimes helped out in the morgue. I helped with those kids. I wished I wouldn’t have. It was terrible.
That was 25 years ago. I still think about those kids at least once every few week and every time I attend a fire or read about a fire related fatality.
Why I speak and write on injury prevention
Read the above story. It could have been prevented. The batteries were taken out of the smoke detector. This experience is a great incentive to prevent other situations like this.
When an adult is hurt, the kids suffer
I’ve attended so many horrible scenes. After I had my own kids, many emergency calls started to bother me. When you attend a 41-year-old man in cardiac arrest in his home, and you look over and see two young kids with tears rolling down their cheeks and holding teddy bears, scared to death because they don’t know if their Daddy is going to live, that hurts to see.
I hope this information gives you a bit of background as to why I got into trying to prevent injuries and fatalities from happening.
- Martin Lesperance