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First Responders: Simply liking what they do

By Keisha Bumphis

Darrin Henderson
Darrin Henderson, Fire Rescue Officer/Paramedic of Dallas Fire Rescue Department

After 11 years, Darrin Henderson’s passion for being part of the Dallas Fire Rescue Department continues.

Passion for his station, Station 37, his crew, and for the job overall is what makes his job so rewarding. When it came to talking about Henderson’s interest in his job, that is when he would become expressive. Born and raised in Dallas, he is employed by the Dallas Fire Rescue Department as a Fire Rescue Officer and Paramedic.

“I like servicing the people. That’s all I have ever done,” Henderson said, referencing previous jobs; all of which involved servicing the public in some way, such as working in a grocery store, at Home Depot, then a bank.

“With the paramedic and fire side, I’m dealing directly with the citizens of Dallas. I just like it. I like meeting people. I like talking to people. I like helping people. I just like what I do. I like what we do.”

Henderson explained what it is like to be with his fellow crew members during a shift. “Just imagine having 10 of your best homies. You want them with you all the time. You have your homies that are just like ‘Eh. Not today.’ but you can’t be without them because they are still your homies. It’s 10 of us, in a station, just having the best of time for 24 hours,” he said.

A self-described “introvert” who “socializes when need be,” and a homebody who enjoys movies, it’s ironic that a career that puts him in the forefront and has him crossing paths with so many different people ended up being such a great fit for him.

As fulfilling as the job may seem, a typical shift is long and hard work. Henderson said in order to become a paramedic, a person must first go through six months of schooling to become a firefighter.

After a month of EMT and six months of paramedic schooling students are registered not only in the state of Texas, but nationally.

A typical shift for Henderson has him residing at the station for 24 hours and then he is off for 48 hours. “You get your rest like you would at home. When you get sleepy, you go to bed but when the bell sounds for you to catch a run, it’s time to go,” explained Henderson. “You want to use your down time wisely.”

The pandemic has doubled the workload, but the number of crew members to a shift and shift lengths remained the same. Dallas Fire and Rescue Department has taken on multiple precautions and protocols to keep their employees safe.

As far as the atmosphere within the station, “the climate changed to self-preservation,” said Henderson. The protocol for being in the station includes taking temperatures when entering the fire house, wearing masks in the station and on runs, using more personal protective equipment when tending to the public, and instilling new procedures for cleaning everyone’s equipment.

The station’s call volume had reached to an overwhelming amount at one point. The daily averaging call volume had risen to about the 20s range. Thankfully, the situation has since calmed down.

The pandemic called for quite a bit of change in how situations are handled. However, preparing for the unexpected and changing the initial plan is something Henderson has adapted to.

“We have to solve right there on the spot. We have to be creative. We have to be spontaneous.”

He explained how adapting to situations is important in his line of work. “It’s just so much you have to do that causes you to be, you know, creative right there on the spot. I love that.”

And he loves his job!

“This job right here, if I had have known about it a lot sooner than when I found out, I wouldn’t have had a lot of the other jobs that I had.”

Contact Information: Darrin Henderson Fire Rescue Officer/Paramedic (469) 235-2449

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I like to say at home more so than go out to gatherings. I do enjoy movies. I enjoy the social activities I grew up on like dominos, skating, shooting pool.”

What were you like growing up?

“I was a competitive student throughout high school academically and the sport I concentrated in.”

“This story was produced by a University of North Texas journalism student as part of the Covering Crisis, Trauma and Recovery class.”

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