Edmonds Fitness Corner: The value of quick emergency response

Dan Potts of Edmonds with members of the Fire Statio 20 crew.
Dan Potts of Edmonds with members of the Fire Station 20 crew who transported him to the hospital. Potts, a strength and conditioning coach who worked with local athletes, died in 2014 following a long battle with cancer.

Call the aid car, babe

When Dan Potts says call the aid car, you call the aid car. I called 911 right away.

At that point we were six months from me calling 911 for the second time, an ambulance ride from which he was not to return home. But we didn’t know that. All I knew that day, as his wife, was that he was lying there in enough pain to ask for help. Dan Potts was the proudest and strongest person I’ve ever known, and he never needed—or asked—for help. But today he did.

We’d been to the ER at Swedish Edmonds two nights before, I had driven him myself at 12:30 a.m.. But now, he now had too much pain to even get in the car. He was in too much pain to even leave our bed.

I was so scared, as the operator could tell, because she had to tell me to calm down. My voice was shaking and I was on the verge of tears. She assured me help would be there soon. And it was, in what was literally just a few minutes.

I’ve never been so glad to see anyone in my life, and these were total strangers. I just knew they were there to help us, and that was enough for me. They were calm and professional as they entered our bedroom. I was blown away as they talked to Dan, as if he weren’t lying there completely helpless. They assessed the situation, and knew pretty quick he needed to get to the ER right away.

They literally carried him out of the bedroom, as our house is too tiny to bring in a stretcher. Talking to him the whole time as if they were all sitting down having a beer! Treating him with so much dignity and respect I can’t describe it. Nor can I begin to describe how reassuring they were. I was so relieved and grateful! Dan was safely transported to the Swedish Edmonds ER—the whole incident was probably less than 30 minutes.

Several weeks later, the same responders found the time to stop by and check on Dan. We were so touched by the care shown to us, and to this day I’m so glad we got a great photo of these awesome guys with Dan.

I understand the competing revenue demands in a thriving city such as Edmonds. And it seems like every time I turn around I’m being asked to pay more in property or sales tax. But does it always have to be about money?

When it is you waiting for help to arrive, you don’t care if it’s a battalion chief, paramedic or whatever. When it comes to physical pain, compromised health, fear for your very life or the life of a loved one, you don’t care. You need them to arrive NOW! And I have never one time wondered about how much money they make or what they do when they are not responding to a call or what kind of benefits they have. I just have an expectation for myself and everyone else that if we need them one day, they will be close by, just a 911 call and a few minutes away. I couldn’t imagine a worse scenario to be the person who needs them when there are several other emergencies occurring simultaneously, having to wait. It’s awful to contemplate!

One day about three months after Dan died, I was sitting there all alone in my house, thoroughly miserable. A random knock on the door unexpectedly turned out to be those same firefighters. Turns out they had responded to a (thankfully) minor incident with a neighbor of mine, and when they realized she lived in our neighborhood they asked about Dan. She had to tell them what had happened. So they appeared at my house to deliver a sympathy card, signed by the entire fire station!

I will keep that card forever.

Now, who do you want responding to your emergency one day? More or less of these people?

Me too.

Pritam Potts
Pritam Potts

Pritam Potts, owner of Advanced Athlete LLC, is a NSCA-certified trainer and strength coach with 14 years of experience working with athletes and clients of all ages. Her specialty is in functional strength applications, developing core and overall strength and coordination specifically for the purpose of enhancing the body’s ability to function optimally and safely in athletic movement. You can contact her online at facebook.com/advancedathlete and twitter.com/advancedathlete.

  1. Such a heartfelt wonderful story. I remember this well. As the mother of a first responder this means even more to me now. RIP Dan. You were loved.

  2. I really can’t believe this wonderful city of Edmonds is contemplating cutting emergency services in anyway. You just have to look around, see lots of new construction, to know that the City’s is growing. HOw then does it make sense to have a smaller Fire Department. I can tell a similar story of having to call 911 twice for my husband who had cancer. Once when he fell and hurt his back and couldn’t get up and a second call a year later when he was too weak for me to get him out of bed and to the hospital. They gave him such great compassionate care both times. He didn’t make it home from this last trip but I was glad they got him to the hospital so quickly. I don’t know what I would have done if there had not been enough emergency resources and couldnt respond quickly. As a spouse or caregiver you are often desperate for the help by the time you make that call to 911. I really hope and pray that the right decision will be made to preserve our Fire Department Staffing at an appropriate level.

  3. Pritam, thank you for the grace that comes through in all your stories.
    Dan is very missed and you are carrying on and helping others beautifully.
    With Love & Joy to you always –

  4. I too, have known what it means to have help come, within just a few minutes of that 911 call. My husband passed out on the chair-lift, on the way up the stairs, and I had to make a call on my cell phone, as I held him in place, waiting for the firefighters to arrive. I dared not leave him, for fear he would fall down the stairs. They were able to get him on oxygen, lay him out flat, and revive him. What would I have done without them? He did not need to go to the ER, but there was another time when the hospital was the only answer. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to have such kind, competent, and friendly help. I wanted to adopt the whole crew!
    That is not, even to mention, the time they saved my life, when I collapsed at the foot of my bed, and when I came to, thought that I had had a bad dream. They convinced me they were real, I wasn’t having a dream, and I was going to be just fine, after an IV took affect. I went to work in the morning, which would not have been the result, if no one could have come in a timely manner.

    These men do a wonderful service for everyone in this community; there MUST be other ways to save the necessary money to keep our team together. No excuses, thank you, just make it happen!

  5. Please everyone reading this and is concerned go no run to the city council meetings to vote in numerous and words to our mayor.

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