Station 19 Welcomes Paul Schrier
By Rachel Mann
Paul Schrier rarely gets to fight fires, but he’s always saving lives.
Station 19 on the corner of 42nd and 20th street is among the top three busiest fire stations in Alachua county. Schrier, the youngest member of the team at 24, notes the extreme dichotomy of their 24-hour shifts.
“Depending on how busy you are, it might be awful, it might be just another day.”
Schrier is no stranger to chaos. In his seven months at Station 19, he’s seen a record-high 22 calls in one day.
“You might get just a recue [truck] with no lights and sirens, you might need a rescue and an engine. If there’s a fire there’s gonna be a lot of trucks going, for car accidents if somebody’s trapped in there they’ll send trucks with the extrication equipment.”
He noted much of his day remains unpredictable. But preparedness remains key when working a shift where anything can happen. Schrier and the rest of his crew complete a variety of exercises that double as training.
“We try to train every day to be prepared so we don’t get caught like a deer in the headlights. One of our extrication trucks goes out to U-Tow-It where they get to practice cutting up the extra cars,” he laughs, “I haven’t gotten to do it yet.”
However, Schrier admited firefighting is a break in the monotony of traffic accidents and falls.
“The fire we had a few months ago…it’s cool,” he laughs, “Yeah it’s cool. We like that. 95 percent of what we run is medical calls so when we do get fires it’s definitely fun.”
The simplest tasks become filled with uncertainty, something that no longer phases him.
“We were actually at Walmart getting groceries [for the station] when we got the call so we’re all storming out of Walmart, got in the truck, got there and were the third [truck] on scene.”
Despite the struggles it brings, Schrier couldn’t imagine it any other way.
“I’ve always enjoyed helping people and this was a way for me to do that.”