Sunday, March 21, 2021

Wild Rescues

Wild Rescues: A Paramedic's Extreme Adventures in Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton by Kevin Grange
4/6/21; 304 pages
Chicago Review Press

Wild Rescues by Kevin Grange is a very highly recommended fascinating firsthand account of the life of a paramedic working with the National Park Service.

In 2014, Kevin Grange left his job as a paramedic in Los Angeles to work at Yellowstone National Park. The district ranger at Old Faithful told Grange, "We figured you could handle the call volume and craziness since you’re from Los Angeles. You probably won’t see gang shootings, but we do have bison gorings and bear maulings." Clearly this is a challenging job that requires paramedics to have the ability and skills to respond to both medical and traumatic emergencies. As Grange points out, "the myriad of Yellowstone’s wonders is matched only by the many ways the park can kill you."

A paramedic with the National Park Service is not a desk job. They encounter stroke, seizures, heart attacks, broken bones, allergic reactions, and diabetic emergencies in a field setting. They may treat patients who are potentially suffering from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, burns, frostbite, hypothermia, lightning strikes, or insect bites, along with the numerous injuries caused by wildlife. These paramedics may be expected to stay over night with a patient in the back country, do search and rescue missions, fight fires, assist visitors, keep visitors safe, and handle resource management.

As Grange tells the many stories of just some of his experiences and the wide variety of calls he answered and emergencies he handled it became quite clear that these paramedics are a special breed all of their own. Grange covers working in Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Teton National Parks. Each of theses park have differences and similarities. Yosemite, for example, has a lot of climbing accidents which requires Grange to learn and sharpen his skills in that area. Clearly I, as many people, am not cut out to be a paramedic at a National Park, but what I can do is appreciate the job these brave people do through the eyes of Grange.

Wild Rescues is not just a heart-stopping series of tales of emergencies, Grange also makes it personal. He shares bits of his personal life and his thoughts. Sometimes there is humor in the pages while at other times there are touching tear-jerking stories or frightening encounters. These paramedics have honed the ability and skill required to quickly assess situations and act accordingly and Grange shares events that clearly showcase this. The narrative is organized into sections set in the three National Parks and the accounts are very accessible to those who don't have a medical background. Clearly, after reading Wild Rescues, travelers will be thinking about safety as well as the natural beauty and wildlife when they visit a National Park.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Chicago Review Press in exchange for my honest opinion.

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