Q&A with Plano Firefighter, Paramedic and Registered Nurse Kenneth Carpenter

At the heart of Plano, you’ll find unsung citizens doing extraordinary things. As a fire rescue specialist, paramedic and hazardous materials technician for the Plano Fire Department and registered nurse for The Medical Center of Plano, Kenneth Carpenter fights against time to save lives every day.

What does an average day at the fire station look like?
My shift at the fire station starts at 6:30 a.m. First, I check out all of my fire and medical equipment. Then, I have daily training that ranges from throwing ladders to a protocol review for a medical procedure. I also run structure fires, medical calls or HAZMAT calls throughout the day – the truck I’m on makes between three and eight calls per shift. If I have downtime, I go to the store to get food for the next shift, train on the computer, or relax – although that is rare. After 24 hours, my shift is over and I get a 48-hour break.

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What about your job at The Medical Center of Plano?
I work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and I get there an hour early to get ready. At 8 a.m., I get reports from the night nurses and start taking care of patients. We see a lot of trauma patients from car wrecks, heart attacks and strokes among other things, because we are a Level 2 trauma center. It is always a busy day. I get a 30-minute break for lunch, and then I see more patients – usually about 10 to 20 patients each shift. When I get off work, I clean up at home and leave my shoes in the garage.

What is the hardest part of your job?
Working with children is one of the hardest things I have to do. Having to do CPR on a kid or running calls where kids are hurt or abused is very difficult.

What inspires you to keep going on hard days?
My wife, Brooke; my twin 8-year-old girls, Brynlee and Camryn and my 6-year-old daughter, Kylie, inspire me. I want to be a good example and work extra hard for them, because I see how hard they work every day.

What is the best part of your job?
Helping people. Whether someone’s house burned down or their loved one is having a heart attack, we get to go in and help them fix the problem immediately. It’s really amazing to help people who are having their worst days. I really enjoy my job; I love learning and I always strive to be the best at what I do.

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