The MC in an upcoming project of mine is a paramedic in a large city, modern day U.S. And while the majority of the story takes place outside the scope of his job, the story opens with him working and I want to get it as close to right as I can manage.
1. What's the difference between a paramedic and an EMT? Is there one, or are the terms interchangeable? If so, which one would my character think of himself as?
2. Where are paramedics based/dispatched from? I recall hearing that they're part of the fire department, but I'm not sure if that's correct.
3. In my admittedly limited experience, I've noticed that paramedics tend to come in pairs. Is that usually the case? Do they always work with the same partner? (I hope so, because if not that's going to throw a bit of a wrench in my plans.)
4. In between emergencies (on that note, what's the proper/common terminology for those?) what would a paramedic likely be doing?
5. The plan is to open my first scene with my MC and his partner out and about getting lunch/coffee/whatever, when they're called to the scene of a gruesome mass suicide with a single survivor. I imagine they'd have a police-style radio and a dispatcher. How might such a call sound, and are there any codes/lingo for that situation that I should know?
6. When they reach the scene, would the cops already be there?
7. Anything else you think I should know in regards to the above scenario but haven't asked?
Urgh, that's a lot of questions just to get through the first chapter, but I'd like to be secure in the knowledge that a real paramedic wouldn't put the book down in disgust. *sigh* I might have to get over my shyness and find a real one to ask. >.>;