KINGMAN - Most people like to work hard and they also enjoy playing hard. When work is done for the day, their minds turn to hunting, fishing, riding quads and participating in various recreational activities such as spending the evening out bowling with friends.
And for most of the residents of Hildale/Colorado City, a town that carries two names because it is split down the middle by state lines, their lives don't differ from other residents of Northern Arizona and Southwestern Utah.
When a select few of the residents, employees and volunteers of the Hildale and Colorado City fire departments are finished with the day's work, they too enjoy "kicking back," spending time with their families and participating in recreational activities.
However, for 35-year-old Daniel Barlow, a mechanic, volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Colorado City and Hildale fire departments, life is entirely different from most. His true passion for entertainment isn't what most people enjoy; his "fun" is working as an EMT.
His work as a volunteer firefighter and EMT continually surges through his veins - his life is all about his volunteer work. And if everything goes as Barlow plans in January, he will be able to claim another title to his accomplishments: paramedic.
Barlow's story originally began when he graduated from high school in the early '90s and went to work as a mechanic for an auto repair facility in the Hillsdale/Colorado City area. After working in the civilian sector for a few years, he began working part time as a mechanic for the local fire department and continued to do so for about eight years.
Barlow's goals shifted during 1994 when he became a volunteer firefighter and was certified as an EMT in Utah. Approximately five years later, he became certified as an EMT in Arizona.
The Hildale and Colorado City fire departments where Barlow works and volunteers are very unique compared to other fire departments in Northern Arizona and Southwestern Utah. Hildale has one fire station on its side of the state line, while Colorado City has two. Both have fire chiefs who share the last name of Barlow; Joseph Barlow heads the Hildale department, Jake Barlow runs the Colorado City Fire District. Both fire departments have a few paid employees, while their 100 firefighters, EMTs and paramedics are volunteers.
The volunteer firefighters, EMTs and paramedics from both cities are able to respond in either state if there is an emergency situation.
According to Daniel Barlow, what makes the two fire departments unique is that none of the firefighters, EMTs and paramedics have to sleep at the fire stations. They are able to eat and sleep at their own homes and are on call if an emergency situation occurs. If needed, the fire department's training coordinator is contacted by the fire department dispatcher and he then calls the volunteers into action via telephone.
Although the two departments are staffed mostly by volunteers, they do have six employees, such as fire chiefs, office staff and maintenance personnel.
The physical composition of the Hildale and Colorado City fire departments differ from other fire departments, but their mission remains the same - to provide fire protection and emergency medical service.
The fire departments have a very large area of responsibility compared to most fire departments and fire districts. Hildale is responsible for 150 square miles, while Colorado City has responsibility over 225 square miles in addition to 220 square miles for emergency medical service and mutual aid, for a total of about 595 square miles.
Because Daniel, one of the paid employees, wanted to further his knowledge, he chose to be one of the departments' 10 EMTs who are currently undergoing part of their paramedic certification in the Kingman area.
"It isn't an easy task to become a certified paramedic," said Bill Johnston, Kingman Fire Department battalion chief and the emergency services coordinator.
"You must be a basic EMT, and the process takes a minimum of 1-1/2 years of classroom study and practical application to become a paramedic," he said.
"It is estimated that for every one hour of classroom instruction, there is at least two hours of study time."
According to Johnston, the 10 Colorado City and Hildale EMTs are in their last phase of their training prior to taking the final exam to become certified as paramedics.
The classroom portion of the training was taught in the Hildale and Colorado City area by instructors from St. George, Utah, Dixie Regional Medical Center, and upon completion of the hands-on training in Kingman, the final exam will be administered by personnel from Kingman Regional Medical Center, Kingman Fire Department and River Medical, all of which will be monitored by personnel from the National Registry of EMTs.
Once the final exam is completed and passed, the 10 EMTs will receive their national and Arizona certification as paramedics.
"I want to thank Kingman Fire Department, Sue Kern and Dr. Mike Ward of Kingman Regional Medical Center with all of the instruction and practical applications in order to help qualify our EMTs to become paramedics," said Jake Barlow.
"The paramedic classes have been very demanding for the most part," said Daniel Barlow.
"You can't miss a class, because if you do, you might fall behind academically."
Barlow is looking forward to completing his training, returning to his home in the Hildale/Colorado City area as a full-fledged paramedic, and being able to utilize the skills he learned during the training period.