Firefighter Alex Canasi has just embarked on his City of Tampa firefighting career. He graduated from the academy in December of 2011 and is currently in what's referred to as a "Jerry-ing" shift. This is where rookie firefighters serve as rotating replacements for almost any City of Tampa fire station. It's a policy designed to familiarize young firefighters with many area stations as well as provide relief for sick or vacationing veteran firefighters. (We recently caught up with him in New Tampa.)
Canasi is one who enjoys helping people. Never wanting to take a desk job, Canasi has always been involved in his community, be it coaching little league orvolunteering with neighborhood projects. He grew up in the Wellswood neighborhood where he attended school at nearby Tampa Catholic and has always enjoyed being a part of that community.
Patch: What has been your most harrowing experience so far?
Canasi: We answered a call for this 5-year-old that had epilepsy. This was when I was at Station 1 downtown. We were the first on the scene, the apartment was on the third floor. By the time we got up there, the kid was in bad shape. He had a shallow breathing pattern and we hooked him up to an IV. By the time we got him hooked up, the rescue truck had arrived. It was too cramped to get the kid on a stretcher so the captain asked that I carry him downstairs. This was my first pediatric call and although the kid was 5, I was carrying him like a baby down to the stretcher. The family was really distraught and it really tugged at my heart strings. We got him in the rescue truck and took him to the hospital and that was the end of it. We don't often get to know what happens to people.
Patch: What has been your most rewarding experience so far?
Canasi: It was actually while I was still in EMT school. I was studying my clinicals at Brandon Regional Hospital and they sent us up one at a time to shadow the lead nurse. This lady went into labor and the doctor asked my instructor if I could assist in the delivery. We hadn't even covered that chapter yet but the doctor said it was basically a catch. I got into scrubs and a gown and as soon as the baby crowned, the doctor moved aside and tapped me in. I was extremely nervous but just a few minutes later, I was holding a newborn baby in my arms. It made me decide I would like to deliver my own child or children someday.
Patch: What do you enjoy about working in New Tampa?
Canasi: It's a really nice area. The station is very nice, it's a big difference from Stations 1, 6, and 4 where I usually work.
Patch: If you weren't working as a firefighter, what do you think you would be doing?
Canasi: I've always been active in sports. I could see myself coaching baseball, maybe sports medicine or rehabilitation.
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