​Craig Ballard
Hospital ER Technician, On-Call Firefighter and EMT Intern

When I wake up, I know I have to be prepared to save a life. My day doesn’t start at the typical hour. It may start at 3 p.m. or in the dead of night because I am a hospital emergency room technician, an on-call firefighter and emergency medical technician intern.

I actually prefer to work midnights. There is a unique camaraderie among night shift workers. We joke around just as hard as we work to keep the mood light and I’ve made some of my best friendships with the people I’ve met through my college public safety programs.

In my experience, the crew at night is usually younger and more efficient because the shifts are busier than they are during the day. And we do have our share of challenges. You never have what is considered a normal schedule, but you still need to be fresh and ready to focus as if you woke up with the sun rise.

Driving at night can be tough too and it’s critical we can see well. My crew and I realize on a nightly basis how important headlights are to our safety and to the safety of those we are assisting. Whether it’s our headlights or those of oncoming traffic, it is important they function properly so that we aren’t distracted and our focus remains on the road. We are always in a hurry to get to a scene or to the hospital so being able to see is crucial. When headlights are burnt out, are too bright or not bright enough, we notice right away.

I love the flexible schedule and challenges of my job. I enjoy taking calls in the middle of the night and having to dash off to the next encounter. It’s just one aspect of the job that sets it apart and I like that not everyone gets to do what I do.