The Peninsula’s Best Kept Secret

Oct 26, 2018 | 2 comments

Wheelchair – Awaiting Transport

Most of us know to call 911 in case of emergency.  If it’s a medical emergency, an aid car or an ambulance – sometimes both – arrives within minutes.  But, we didn’t know until a few years ago that the EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) can be called upon for assistance in other, non-emergency situations.  When that is the case, you call the regular, business number of your local fire department (for us, the Ocean Park Fire Station) and explain what sort of assistance you need and when you will be needing it.

Right now, and for the next several “non-weight-bearing” months while Nyel’s mobility is limited, we call for assistance getting Nyel in and out of the car.  He is totally capable of most wheelchair maneuvers in the house, but steps are another matter.  When we have to leave the premises for a doctor’s appointment, it’s a little tricky.

Preparing Wheelchair for Transport: Step One Remove Footrests

He’s working on developing enough strength to hop with his “good leg” to get one step down from living room to porch and one somewhat higher step down from porch to ground-level (and then, of course, back again at the end of the journey).  Until he can do that (with me hovering around uselessly) it’s EMTs to the rescue!  They arrive in pairs and one stations himself at the front of the wheelchair and one at the back.  Voila!  Easy Peasy.   He’s in the car before you know it!

Preparing Wheelchair for Transport, Step Two: Remove Seat Cushion

Today we had them collapse Nyel’s wheelchair and tuck it behind the driver’s seat – (do Linda and Harry Schleef know how we bless them every single day for the loan of this perfect little wheelchair?) – and at the other end of our journey I was able to get it out, un-collapse it and put seat and footrests back and then reverse the process to get us home.  We called the Fire Station when we were about twenty minutes out and they met us at the house to get Nyel back inside.  I can’t even imagine what we would do without them!

Preparing Wheelchair for Transport, Step Three: Collapse for Transfer to Car

And… that’s not all!  Last week they came and changed out all our smoke detectors, installed a carbon monoxide detector and told us to call whenever we have lightbulbs that need changing with a ladder involved.  OMG!  I can’t tell you how many times we have prevailed upon friends who, of course, have no more business than we do on ladders.  It’s a problem when you have twelve-foot ceilings in parts of the house!

Several of our friends in the “big city” have told us how lucky we are, assuming that they don’t have that kind of assistance available to them – that it’s just a rural thing.  I can’t really believe that, but I don’t know.  I do know that our EMTs (who are also fire fighters) say about 90% of their calls these days involve medical situations, not fires.  “Better construction techniques and better fire safety education these days,” said one.  “Yeah, it used to be that we were fire fighters with some medical expertise.  It’s the other way around these days.”


  1. Jane

    Thanks for the tip about lightbulbs. We have high cathedral ceilings and don’t even have a ladder high enough. It is so aggravating when the smoke alarm starts beeping and needs a battery change. We have to call a neighbor who has a tal ladder. He is younger than we are, but none of us should be up on ladders! Glad to hear you and Nyel are coping well with the help of our first responders.

  2. Cate

    God bless small town Fire departments and EMTs. I don’t think they would be so accommodating in Seattle (although they are extremely kind and were helpful during my father’s last year). It is good to know that they are looking out after all the communities needs.


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