Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence

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Updated: 58 min 43 sec ago

Feed the Police at Fire Life

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:03

The rest of the world might have gone nuts, but that is no reason for us to join them. Society is embracing the idea of questioning the police, as if the police were created to harass them. Showing disrespect to a uniformed police officer is a badge of honor these days; street cred gained through outright contempt for the badge is commonplace, accepted by society and embraced by the some in the media.

But behind the badge exist people. People like you and me. People who put their uniforms on one leg at a time. But, most importantly, the people behind the badge get hungry!

Everybody knows that firefighters are great cooks. The police officers in your district are painfully aware of this fact as well. As they sit in their cruiser, eating stale baloney and mayo on white bread, we are enjoying a T-bone steak, some garlic-infused mashed potatoes, and perhaps a side of steamed broccoli.

It wouldn’t kill us firefighters to extend an invitation to our brothers and sisters who are not as fortunate as us when it comes to taking care of the most basic survival needs. Breaking bread together is the most down to earth human connection there is. Sharing a meal brings people closer, and the closer we are to the people who have the unenviable job of keeping a hostile, unappreciative, and increasingly bold and belligerent public from harming us as we perform our jobs, the better.


Even if the cops can’t physically join us at the table, a hot plate beats a cold sandwich or takeout any day of the week. Here’s a little something you can throw together on the cheap; it’s a staple in every firehouse in Providence, and though every firehouse chef likes to take credit for inventing it, truth is, the recipe originated in Mrs. Morse’s kitchen and was modified by yours truly to meet the needs of the never-ending appetites of my fellow firefighters and sometimes police.

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Hot Pasta

Feeds six firefighters and two police officers or just six firefighters; they will just keep eating until it’s gone…



3 lbs pasta of choice

6 boneless chicken breasts

Big can chicken broth

1 lb mushrooms

1 red pepper

1 large onion

5 cloves garlic

1 jar pepperoncini



Crushed red pepper

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Grated cheese

Olive oil


  1. In a big pot, boil water.
  2. In a smaller pot, heat up olive oil.
  3. Chop up five good-sized garlic cloves; better yet, have the firefighters do the dirty work. Make sure you tell them to make it snappy; they love that!
  4. Chop up an onion. Peel it first, throw the pieces on top of the garlic, and stir it a little until the onions are clear. You could say translucent,” but nobody will know what you are talking about.
  5. Have your slaves . . .  er, the firefighters, cut up a head of broccoli, a red pepper, and some mushrooms (unless you bought them sliced).
  6. In the meantime, cube chicken breasts. Toss the cubes with the garlic and onions until almost done, then add the chopped veggies—add mushrooms last.
  7. Open a jar of whole pepperoncinis; pour a lot of the juice into the chicken, garlic, and onion mix. Season the mix with garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper, salt, maybe a few shakes of whatever hot sauce you have around, and some black pepper. Add a can of chicken broth.
  8. Add three pounds of ziti, bowties, or macaroni to the boiling water; adding some salt. Stir.
  9. When the pasta is done, drain the water out and put it back in the pan. Add the chicken, veggie mix (including the juice) into the pasta pan.
  10. Add a cup of grated Romano or parmesan cheese (Romano is better; parmesan gets all sticky, but it’s still pretty good).
  11. Mix it all up, set up some bowls and spoons or forks, and call the cops!

Thanks to the San Marcos, Texas Fire Depertment for the image.





Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Language Barrier

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 10:46

“We are the professionals on an emergency scene; it is we whom people depend on. We are not struggling to find the right words while filled with worry; we are simply doing our job to the best of our abilities. Communicating with our patients is the first step toward properly treating them. It is not necessary to master a different language to do so. Each and every member of the company benefits when everybody makes an effort to improve their skills.”



Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Responding First

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 09:45

I don’t know if people like me–people who are trained to respond and are confident in their ability to do so–see mass casualties differently than most. When I see images from the latest disaster, terrorist attack, or mass shooting flash across my screen, my eyes are drawn to the rescuers, not the victims. I focus on the job at hand and the people doing it. I wonder what they are thinking, how they are managing, what emotions they are ignoring, and how they will cope.

If there is one thing I know better than everything else, it is this: What we do may not define us, but it certainly shapes who we become. Our personalities are fluid; we never stop changing. Life experience changes us subtly; we do not notice those gradual shifts in perception. It is only when looking back, often through the eyes of the people who are actively responding to emergencies, that everything becomes clear; we are not hard; we are not machines; we are not tools to be used, put away, and used again until there is no more life left and a replacement is needed. We are human beings, made exactly like the people who need us.

It is human beings who have to be there when things get ugly.

And if not us, then who?

Who will they call when the bullets are hitting their targets?

When they are hunkered down, bleeding, dying.

When sirens in the distance are the only thing they have to hold on to.

When all is lost.

Who will they call?

They call us. First Responders. The Army isn’t coming, the Marines either. It’s their neighbors who respond, their fathers, their sisters, their friends. It’s the people they see at the market in their street clothes, the ones standing in line with them at the coffee shop, and the ones on duty, in uniform and prepared for the unimaginable. When their world descends to madness and nothing makes sense, we respond.

We are everywhere we are needed, nestled in neighborhoods, patrolling the streets, sitting on corners in our ambulances waiting for the call. We are in the crowd that comes under attack, never really off duty, once trained and experienced it matters not when we are needed, only that we are.

Most of us will never be called to a mass casualty or be present when tragedy strikes. All of us carry with us the know-how and presence of mind to act in an emergency. None of us wants our training, experience, and demeanor to be needed.

Every time the wheels of civilization fall off it’s the police, the firefighters, and the EMTs running toward the gunfire. Somehow we make careers out of it and walk among our families, friends, and neighbors as if we are just like everybody else. But deep down I think every one of us knows that we are different.

And if we don’t know it now, we will definitely find out.


Image courtesy of Eric Norberg 

Categories: Syndicated Columnists