In 1975, Newport Beach, along with most other cities in the nation, didn't have paramedics.
A study had shown that people were dying on the streets who would have survived on a battlefield in Vietnam. Firefighters had first aid training, but that could only go so far.
"Fill 'em full of air and ship 'em out — that was the saying," recalled retired Deputy Chief Tom Arnold, one of eight members of the city's first class of paramedics. "We were the first ones to get that advanced level of care we have today."
Arnold, along with retired Battalion Chief Don Jones, visited the Newport Center Fire Station last week to visit current paramedics over lunch.
In some ways, not much has changed from 1975 to today. Seconds still count when saving a life. They work as teams, closely, like families. They cherish thank yous and video updates from patients they've saved.