By David Fleet
After more than four decades of service for the Brandon Fire Department, Cpt. Dan Flood concluded a stellar career as a firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, and EMS coordinator. On March 31, the department provided Flood the traditional last ride home in a fire truck following a Zoom retirement gathering.
Flood’s first fire truck ride was just three months after his graduation from Brandon High School in 1975. He recalls receiving the standard 70s era firefighter garb featuring rubber hip boots, rubber coat, helmet and rubber gloves. “It was a different time back then,” said Flood. “I started at the fire department, fire academy and college all at the same time.”
He was first inspired by the 70s action television drama “Emergency!” which centered on paramedics and firefighters in the Los Angeles county metropolitan area. While an on-call firefighter, he attended Oakland Community College paramedic program, which included the basic EMT training. He also participated in the fire academy at Brandon Station II. In the spring of 1976 Flood was hired at Fisher Body-Grand Blanc.
“I decided no matter what I was going to get my college degree,” he said.
Flood continued school and received his applied science paramedic licence in 1979—a foundation for the evolution in emergency services and has been instrumental in the development of medical personnel over the years.
“At that time emergency medical services was new,” he said. “EMS had just started in Southfield in 1972—it was a whole new field at the time. There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning.”
The Brandon Fire department started to respond to medical calls in 1977 and Flood was one of the first few EMTs in the department.
Flood recalled his first response requiring CPR.
“We did mouth-to-mouth then,” he said. “I responded from home to the Clearwater Campground and was one of the first on the scene.”
The need for first responders grew, within five years the department expanded from Medical First Responders to Basic Life Support.
“There were very few departments responding to EMS calls at the time,” he said. “We provided the initial care then an ambulance showed up and transported. The need was there to get quick medical care for the citizens—it would save lives and improve the quality of life in the community, that was our goal.”
He married Pam, a Pontiac native in 1981.
“She had to adjust to my 24/7 career and my commitment to the community,” he said. “She’s been amazing, it’s sometimes not easy.”
Flood was hired full time by Brandon Fire 1983 as a firefighter/EMT, promoted to sergeant in 1987 then to captain in the early 1990s.
“Advanced life support was now becoming the standard,” he said. “We could arrive on the scene in six to eight minutes, and would care for the patient sooner. Often we would arrive and take care of all the immediate life threatening emergencies before the ambulance arrived.”
In 2001 Brandon Fire Department started transporting patients to hospitals in the township.
Early on EMS personnel were always requesting the doctors to allow more medical procedures in the field for patients, recalled Flood.
“Today, the doctors have recognized what a different EMS can make in the field and are encouraging us to improve our protocols to save lives,” he said.
Over the four decades as a firefighter-EMT Flood notes several key advancements including the introduction of the Jaws of Life and portable medical equipment to manage patients airways and ease stabilization enroute to the hospital.
“Because EMS was new there was not a lot of equipment (in the field) back then,” he said. “Modifications to the medical procedures have improved over years—CPR has changed five times during the past 40 years.”
When Flood started there were no protocols for medical procedures, he recalled.
“Today the book is 260 pages,” he said.
“I’ve always enjoyed dealing with the people and running the calls,” said Flood. “We’ve been so busy over the past several years I have not been able to do that. It’s the best part of the job.”
The Brandon Fire Department has been outstanding, he said.
“Every chief— I’ve now had three, made their main focus on the community,” he said. “We pride ourselves on that. It’s been a good run and I’ve enjoyed everyday.”
Flood with continue his profession working with Oakland Community College as part of the EMS program.
By David Fleet