By: Stacey Diaz
A Miami – Dade County firefighter and paramedic named Carlos Alberto Henriquez, 54, never really realized how much he helped out his community until he got interviewed. This has been his career for 28 helpful years. His career entails many different types of things. Street fires, house fires and dangerous car accidents are some of the events that he has to accomplish in his ordinary days. Since he’s a certified paramedic he receives calls that deal with cardiac emergencies, medical calls and public help. It wasn’t really hard for Henriquez to decide that he wanted become a firefighter and paramedic when he got older.
“What influenced me to become a firefighter and a paramedic straight from high school was a T.V. show that I used to love watching called Emergency that played in the 1970’s,” explained Henriquez.
“I really enjoyed the excitement and different calls that firefighters had to attend to.” Many people wouldn’t like the schedules firefighters have to deal with but not Henriquez.
“The schedules are one of the best things in this position. It’s hard for the family because you spend 24 hours without seeing them but you get 48 hours off.” Henriquez stated.
Henriquez has always had a passion for outside activities. He loves to go Spear fishing and Boating with his co-workers and scuba diving with his family. Henriquez believes that someone wanting to be successful in his position would have to acquire many different qualities in order to make it. Some of the qualities include: being well-rounded, enjoys working with people, must have an outgoing personality, in shape to withstand heavy equipment and has to have good health.
“There’s not a single thing that I regret in my career. Everything bad that happens to you, you learn from it and you earn experience. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else than this,” Henriquez articulated.
He’s been fortunate enough to not have lost any member through a traumatic experience. However, he has lost a few friends due to cancer or car accidents. Henriquez’s biggest challenges on a firefighter level are fires that are hard to contain and clean ups can sometimes last up to three to four hours. From a paramedic perspective the challenges are more severe. Trauma calls involving legs and arms that have been amputated and the dire need to save a life hangs in matter of minutes. What Henriquez enjoys the most is having the time to spend with his coworkers, whom he calls his brothers. They attend events together such as the “Firefighter Olympics.”
“The first year is difficult and it’s also known as the probationary year. It involves lots of training, tasks, drills and homework. It’s the hardest year because you have to prove it to yourself and the chiefs that you are able to handle all this pressure,” articulated Henriquez.
As the time approaches closer to his retirement, nearly two years left, he envisions himself in Costa Rica. When Henriquez went on vacation he loved Costa Rica as soon as he stepped onto land. He imagined himself living there and relaxing while being retired.
“When I arrived to Costa Rica for the first time, I immediately thought it was beautiful. I pictured myself living there and having a good time,” remarked Henriquez.
“I’ve visited Costa Rica so many times that I already know the directions on where to go. I will be spending six months over there and six months in Miami because Miami will forever be my home!”