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They used to have to wait until police secured the scene before going in. “Now, we’re not waiting anymore,” Schroeder said. “We’re getting in and getting people treatment instead of letting people lay there. And it’s saving lives.”
Schroeder has the ability to separate his emotions from the difficult sights in order to get the job done, he said. “Between here and the sheriff’s office, I’ve seen just about everything a person can see in a career,” he said.
Closer together than ever
Technology also is playing a bigger role in firefighter training.
About a year ago, Schroeder pushed to get computers in the firetrucks, which he thinks will prove their worth down the line. Fire departments now videotape their work for training firefighters to watch.
Another emerging challenge is responding to crashes involving electric hybrid cars, with high voltage presenting a risk in cutting people out of the car.
“There’s things like that that are constantly changing, and you have to move with it,” Schroeder said.
But technology is not the only thing changing the face of the job.
The Sept. 11 attacks and the Boston bombings have changed how the work feels.
“I think it drew every firefighter and cop in this country closer together in everything that we do,” he said.
When Schroeder looks at his career, he feels fortunate to have been able to pursue both firefighting and law enforcement.
“When I walk away from here I’ll have had a very successful and happy career,” he said. “I wouldn’t change anything.”
Liala Helal • 952-746-3286