“I was driving home when I saw some firemen at a practice fire,” says Petty, a 1998 graduate of the weekend degree program. “The next week, I applied.”
Petty learned the trade in the Air Force, and is now a captain at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport’s fire department. There, he says, “We cover everything from hazardous spills to aircraft emergencies. If it happens at the airport, we get called. We go from one extreme to the other, but medical emergencies are our biggest runs, everything from heart attacks to cut fingers.”
As captain, Petty coordinates efforts from the ground when planes make emergency landings. “We get a lot of planes that have a passenger get sick and divert to Cincinnati,” says Petty, who is responsible for making sure that emergency medical personnel get on the plane quickly, provide assistance, and then get the passenger off the plane for further treatment.
The diversity of his day, he adds, is the best part of the job. “I have to wear many hats. I can be in a meeting at the firehouse, then 30 seconds later go on an EMS run or to an airplane with an engine out.”