COLUMN: CFD movie night made for good Unofficial


Madelyn Kidd, News Editor

On Saturday during Unofficial, the Daily Eastern News had editors do ride-alongs with the Charleston Police Department and Charleston Fire Department. 

I was the sole editor who rode along with CFD Fire Station 2’s shift, which consisted of Captain Blake Graven, Lieutenant Jordan Philpott and firefighter/paramedics Grant Hale and Wyatt Walters.

I arrived at the fire station at 10 a.m. and was informed that ride-alongs typically leave at 10 p.m., so that is the latest I stayed being able to be with CFD for 12 hours of their 24-hour shift.

CFD works in 24:48 shifts, meaning firefighters work 24 hours then get 48 hours off and the cycle repeats.

CFD typically have ride-alongs which are medical students or EMTs in training, so it was a new experience for them and me to have a journalist riding along.

When responding to calls in the ambulance, I rode in a seat in the back, but when transporting a patient to Sarah Bush Lincoln they had me sit in the passenger seat instead.

I would have ridden in an extra back seat in the fire truck as well, but the only fire calls were for RIT for Mattoon Fire Department, which were called off before the truck even left the block.

Rapid Intervention Team, RIT, is a standby team of firefighters whose only job is to standby during fires for another department, and if a firefighter(s) is trapped, unconscious, disoriented, etc. within the fire, the RIT goes in to save the firefighter.

CFD provides a RIT for the Mattoon Fire Department when they have fire calls and Mattoon does the same for CFD.

Throughout Saturday, I accompanied CFD on dispatch calls and hung out with them at Fire Station 2 in between calls.

My ride along began with a tour of the station and going over rules I needed to follow while on calls. 

Then the first call came in at 10:48 a.m. for a psych evaluation. The individual declined going to the hospital. 

After the paramedics got in contact with a doctor at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital who confirmed the individual didn’t need to be brought to the hospital, the individual signed a waiver confirming they were waiving the ambulance ride.

The ambulance calls were divided up between the four men with two pairs who switched off who responded to calls. They were paired as Philpott and Hale, then as Graven and Walters.

The first call was responded to by Philpott and Hale and before the ambulance returned to the station, there was another ambulance call. Thus, Philpott and Hale also responded to that call because they hadn’t returned to the station to trade off with the next pair of responders.

The second call came in at 11:15 a.m. about an individual feeling faint. Once we reached the individual, they were feeling better and didn’t need a ride to the hospital anymore.

The third call was the first Unofficial related call responded to by Graven and Walters.

The call came in at 12:35 p.m., for an unconscious individual and was responded to by Graven and Walters. The call was at the second Unofficial house in the “crawl” on 4th Street. Once at the scene, the individual was taken to Sarah Bush Lincoln.

The fourth call was also Unofficial related for a “very drunk” young man also at the same house as the previous call and responded to by Philpott and Hale. The crowd had significantly increased in the number of people there from the previous call.

The call came in at 2:05 p.m., per protocol, Hale checked with the young man if he was OK with those around him hearing his personal information. 

The young man declined a ride to the hospital, and a friend was going to take the young man home.

However, the second Philpott and Hale started to walk away, the young man’s friends previously adorned serious facades disappeared, and phones were out filming the young man and yelling about how CFD was called for him because he partied too hard at Unofficial.

At 3:48 p.m., I rode along on a call for a two-vehicle accident on the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Fourth Street.

One of the individuals involved had a broken wrist/arm and was transported to Sarah Bush Lincoln. This call was responded to by Graven and Walters.

The final dispatch call I rode along on was a call at 5:50 p.m., for a man in a car in the Walmart parking lot who had been there all day and the caller was concerned about him. Upon arrival with Philpott and Hale, CPD were already talking to the man with his car door open, and the ambulance wasn’t needed any longer.

Throughout the day in between calls, CFD and I watched TV including the show “Practical Jokers” and movies “The Other Guys,” “I Love You, Man” and “Into the Wild.”

Those on shift were able to spend the day relaxing in between calls since it was the weekend. Hale explained to me that 24-hour shifts on weekdays were spent working on paperwork and chores, but weekends were more relaxed.

CFD also made me dinner when they made themselves dinner, which was so nice of them, and they didn’t have to do that. However, they did, and I got to eat a bacon cheeseburger made on the grill and tater rounds with firefighters on the evening of Unofficial.

During Unofficial, a lot of Eastern students were out partying, but I was having a movie night with CFD and wouldn’t change a minute of it.


Madelyn Kidd is a junior Journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].