2013 Tesla Model S: Visiting an Historical Fire House
October 31, 2013
These days every fire station seems to have paramedics, squads of elite firemen with extra medical training and equipment. It's something we take for granted when we talk about first responders these days.
But my late fireman friend Howard was always quick to point out that there was a time not so long ago when the idea of handing over such responsibility to firemen was brand new, revolutionary and controversial. That point in time in the early 1970s was captured by a TV show that was called Emergency!.
The Los Angeles County Fire department's new paramedic program was dramatized in this very popular NBC TV program. During its five-season run, fire chiefs and mayors across the country were inspired to develop similar capabilities after watching the show. Many of them called the production company and L.A. County Fire for advice.
I recently found out that the fictional Station 51, home of Squad 51, is a real operational station I drive past on the 405 freeway every day. I happened to be in our 2013 Tesla Model S when I decided to pop on over for a quick look.
I recognized the familiar roofline in an instant, and the broad street from which Station 51's equipment was dispatched looks exactly the same as it did on TV when I was a kid.
The station's real number is 127, and it is now known as the Robert A. Cinader Memorial Fire Station, in honor of his role in creating and producing the show alongside Jack Webb. A plaque mounted next to the front door details his acknowledged role in helping to promote paramedics programs across the country through his involvement in the show and as a member of the L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Commission thereafter.
So the next time someone tells you that TV is crap, that it contains nothing on it worth watching, tell them the story of Emergency! and the many lives it has doubtless saved by spreading the idea of paramedic programs across the country.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 10,886 miles