Back in may 2013 I was working for a advanced life support ambulance service. While I was off shift I got called in for emergency call back to assist a different agency. When I got to the station I realized that Moore, Oklahoma had been hit by a tornado.
Me and several others loaded up and headed down the highway. A hour and a half later we are finally in Moore. We all went to the staging area and got assignments. My partner received our assignment while I was getting our ambulance ready for whatever we faced. As soon as he got back to the truck we rolled out of the staging area.
This is when it all started to hit. My partner advised me that we were Being sent to a elementary school where children are trapped and in unknown condition. We were part of the search and rescue efforts. We pulled up on scene and what I saw was horrific. The entire school had been leveled to the ground. It was just a bunch of rubble.
We met with incident command and received the area we needed to search. We searched for 24hrs straight with no food and 3 bottles of water a piece. In that 24 hours my life was changed forever. We pulled 7 deceased children out of the rubble. All of them my daughters age. Every time I seen one of them I seen my daughters face and I felt the pain the parents must have felt shortly after when they was told the news.
Here it is 3 years later and I still see the children’s faces and feel that pain. It has made it hard to get a good night’s sleep constantly wondering what challenge is around the corner. The one thing that sticks with me to this day. Is after we had everyone accounted for and was packing up to leave. Everything was so quiet, the wind was not blowing, not a soul in site besides the crews that was packing up. I looked across the street from the school where a house used to sit and in the middle of the concrete driveway sat a old wooden rocking horse for children and it was rocking back and forth.
– Story written by James, FF/EMT, 6 years in EMS.