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View Full Version : Sirens in the Night (1972)


Steve Loftin
01-18-2012, 06:26 PM
This fascinating documentary is about the transition from private and funeral home ambulance services to fire department EMS in Jacksonville, FL. Actual footage as well as re-enactments are used to tell the story. It has some "Hollywood" in it - dubbed siren sounds, different vehicles used for the same response, etc. - but otherwise is as interesting as it is educational. It's almost 24 minutes long, so get comfortable before watching:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45yF0z-6G0o

Kurt Halverson
01-18-2012, 08:57 PM
That was a really interesting film to watch, very educational and entertaining. A couple of things that jumped out at me were 1. The patients were always referred to as "victims". 2. The dispatchers ended their initial radio dispatch with "that is all". I wonder if a film like this inspired Jack Webb to start the Emergency! tv show?
Kurt

Joe Rackov
01-18-2012, 10:23 PM
No gloves, no seat belts, and the best one, riding the tailboard on the engine.

Reminds me of the early 1980's..................................!

(I went airborne a time or two on a tailboard)

Mitch Fiandt
01-19-2012, 07:07 AM
Very interesting video. As someone who made the change from working on both a funeral home ambulance and fire department ambulance to a county run EMS system, I can appreciate some of the scenes in the video. ALthough the funeral home ambulance did not have any medical equipment except for o2 the fire department was well equiped for its time. The funeral home ambulance was a 1971 Olds combination and the fire department ambulance refered to as "Black Beaty" was a 1964 Pontiac Superiour combination which was just plain fast. It remember the tailboard days no matter the weather. Now that I am older I appreciate those enclosed 6 man cabs.

John ED Renstrom
01-19-2012, 12:47 PM
love that token CPR the rocker could have been in the instruction vido on how not to do CPR. then to call another unint in and aske them to get equptment off there rig??? can you say staged? the slant or pitch given to the clip was obvies to but still were else you going to find action shots like that. can't tell if that was a 63 or 64 low top ambulance, no crosses and I"m guessing those are the superior tear drops just over the belt line. you can never stop a u tube on a clear frame. but been there done that the good, the bad and ugly!!

Steve Lichtman
01-19-2012, 10:02 PM
...I wonder if a film like this inspired Jack Webb to start the Emergency! tv show?
Kurt"Emergency!" premiered in January, 1972 (so it was filmed in 1971). I suspect it was "Emergency!" that inspired this. Some of the shots of the ambulances are similar.

Great film! That is all.

Jeremy D. Ledford
01-20-2012, 10:43 AM
"Emergency!" premiered in January, 1972 (so it was filmed in 1971). I suspect it was "Emergency!" that inspired this. Some of the shots of the ambulances are similar. Great film! That is all.

Even some of the music is similar as well! A couple of the box units had unique beacon placement too.:17875:

Steve Loftin
01-21-2012, 12:44 AM
can't tell if that was a 63 or 64 low top ambulance, no crosses and I"m guessing those are the superior tear drops just over the belt line.

1964 Superior combination

Dave Lisiecki
01-26-2012, 02:18 AM
For someone like me who has never worked in the profession, this was very interesting (even if not entirely accurate). Especially in terms of the vintage equipment and supplies. And it reminds me again how I admire what you guys do, and how you're able to do it time and time again.
Some quick Google "research" shows the now-retired writer had quite a career beginning with several years in broadcasting.

Abe Bush
01-29-2012, 03:10 PM
I loved this! Thanks so much for sharing it, I only wish it is much much longer! :D

A couple things I noticed:


The dispatcher doesn't even state the nature of the call, even though the telephone call taker stated it's a "child not breathing", the dispatcher just states "A child. That is all." You'd think they'd want to indicate if someone isn't breathing, to expedite their response.

The rigs in this 1972 video are sporting the earliest example of wig wag headlight use I've ever seen! Prior to this video, I had never seen it on tv/movies, nor in person until the early 1980's.

As Jeremy pointed out above, the beacon setup on the modular units was very strange! One unit has one beacon on the right front corner of the box, and another beacon on the rear left corner. Very strange setup. The rig with the two centered beacons (one front and one rear) looked rather strange as well, but at least they were centered.

Loved all those wonderful flashing red grill lights!

I remember in the Superior book, Tom McPherson talks about the ultra modern 1966 Superior Rescuer ambulance and one of its features are "blue lighting" in the patient compartment. I always wondered what possible use would interior blue lighting serve in an ambulance setting? But I noticed the ambulances in this video also feature what appears to be blue lensed high intensity or flood lighting.

The video did a great job emphasizing how well the Jacksonville paramedics, or "rescue men" were doing, but I do feel they were a bit harsh on the funeral home ambulance services. They made it sound like the funeral home services were fly by night and severely sub par, but I believe in most cases funeral home services did the best they could with very limited resources.

Abe

Chris M. Kelley
01-31-2012, 01:59 AM
It said Signal 26, which was probably a code that meant "Not Breathing", etc. Something that single area could relate to as an important message.

I got spanked for stating "What the hell does that even mean" on the Med System in 2002. They instituted a system of codes to shorten the message, and also discontinued a warble tone that used to tell us the nature of the call. They tapped us at 15 past midnight for a cardiac arrest, but said "for the echo", instead. Echo Priority, cardiac or resp., arrest. Still use it, but now it's the last thing they say, after the nature of chief complaint.