by Dave Greenberg
This is a wonderful, easy to read non-fiction book describing Dave's progression from a school-hating youngster in New York, USA, to a man showing extreme determination to achieve his dream job, a crew person on Life Flight – the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service in Wellington.
This same determination shaped the man he was to become – brave beyond words in impossible rescue missions, and a team member one hundred percent, which is so essential in critical situations. He quotes his mother “It's too bad that people have to suffer for you to be happy”, but he reconciled this with the fact that he was helping people in desperate circumstances.
Emergency Response has a good, but simple quality of writing, with many photographs showing some of the manoeuvres Dave and his colleagues experienced.
This book should appeal to a wide audience from ages 15+, as we all seem to have a (possibly morbid) curiosity for traumatic occurrences, and a great admiration for the brave and often fearless men and women who put their own lives on the line to rescue others. His descriptions of rescues are detailed, respectful of the parties involved, not overly gruesome, but with enough information to keep the reader's interest.
Dave is totally honest about the few events where there were problems with potentially disastrous outcomes, how these were averted, and important lessons learned, shaping the service that runs today.
He is very open about his feelings of hurt, rejection and then anger when his post of Wellington Operations Manager was disestablished during a restructure of the Life Flight Trust organisation. But his attitude to life and the knocks it can give you, is a wonderful example of how to cope with bitter disappointment – keep calm, assess your strengths and use them to move forward. He continued as a crew person for another two years, then accepted that after 25 years in the service it was time to hang up his helmet, proud of his contribution to the growth of Life Flight over the years.
Obviously, in medical situations, and flying, there are many abbreviations and I found I had to keep referring to previous chapters to remind myself of what they were. Dave does explain what they are the first time he uses them, but I think it would have been beneficial to have a glossary of terms/abbreviations at the beginning, or end, of the book for a faster reference. Also, in his preface, he states he has converted all measurements to the metric system and then, on the first page of the book refers to a “forty-foot yacht”.
However, this book gives a great insight to the rescue service, and how Dave's life was shaped by his dedication for the job. He describes his family and friends, the love he has for them, and the support they gave him over the years – so we get a picture of Dave the man as well as Dave the rescuer.
Author: Dave Greenberg
Publisher: Penguin Random House NZ
Available: Trade Paperback (NZ/Aus), Ebook