Firefighter/Paramedic Cody Schmitt is in his second year of service with the Pasco County Fire Department. He, like many other young firefighters, is a floater, filling voids in different Pasco stations as they are needed.
Schmitt is a native of Lutz and a Gaither High School graduate. He started his firefighter training at Hillsborough Community College and continued in the fire academy there. Schmitt worked as an emergency technician for a private ambulance company called Transcare for three years prior to joining the Pasco department.
Schmitt always liked fireworks and fires for that matter as a child. The notion of being a firefighter had been in his mind for years. It got stronger in high school.
"I thought 'What better profession?, I actually get to put out the fires'," Schmitt said.
Schmitt's fiance, Jena works for the St. Petersburg Fire Department. Schmitt was glad to get a firefighting job much closer to their home in Lutz.
Patch: Describe your first call as a Pasco County firefighter.
Schmitt: This was when I was at Station 17 in Seven Springs. The call was for a structure fire but it was really a tractor trailer full of garbage that caught fire, next to the dump. We had the engine with the elevated master stream hose and I got to operate it with the joystick. We hooked the hose up to the hydrants and basically drowned the fire. It was a good experience because we got to do something called, "catch the hydrant" which is where you hook the supply hose to the engine while it's moving. I got to be pretty quick at it, felt good about it.
Patch: Describe your first call as a paramedic.
Schmitt: It was a call for an older man. His wife said she was talking to him 10 minutes ago, then he was non-responsive. We put him on a four-lead monitor. It showed that the electric part of his heart was beating but it wasn't pumping any blood. We started CPR there, loaded him on the stretcher and into the truck where we put defibrillator pads on him. We started an IV, got him intubated. We shocked him, continued CPR and within five to ten minutes got a good pulse. We got him to the hospital with his heart beating again.
Patch: What is the most calls you've answered on a single shift?
Schmitt: 17 calls when I was at Station 11.
Patch: What do you do to decompress after a shift like that?
Schmitt: Go home, sleep. Normally I'm just so exhausted, I just pass out. After a shift like that, I might not wake up until 2pm the next day.
Patch: What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't working as a firefighter?
Schmitt: I was considering mechanical engineering while I was in school. I probably would have done that if firefighting didn't work out.