Members of Bayonne’s McCabe Ambulance Service starred in their final episode on the television show “Live Rescue,” starring Chief of Operations Mike McCabe and his personnel, on Monday, Jan. 6.
“Live Rescue” is an A&E show that focuses on the daily operations of paramedics across the country.
McCabe said it all started a couple of years ago when he was working on a pilot program that was meant for another network. The pilot was about young emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and their experiences. McCabe said it never got developed further.
However, McCabe met some of the producers and staff who worked for the production companies on set. He asked producers to keep Bayonne and its EMTs in mind for any other pilots featuring live programming about emergency medical services (EMS).
“In late winter, I got a call from one of the producers I had met saying that they were going to be doing a spin-off of the series ‘Live PD,’ which is on A&E,” McCabe told the Bayonne Community News in a Jan. 9 interview. “It was going to be called ‘Live Rescue,’ and they were going to be following fire departments and EMS on their day-to-day calls.”
McCabe said that after some reflection, he thought it was a great opportunity to bring awareness to emergency services and to the city.
McCabe checked with the staff before accepting the offer. He said the answer was a resounding yes, with a positive vibe.
“Initially, back in the early spring of last year, they would follow our command unit and one of the ambulances on call,” McCabe said. “In the beginning it was me, the command unit, and two of our EMTs.”
The two EMTs in the on-call ambulance would switch regularly. McCabe said it wasn’t always the same person because a lot of his EMTs wanted to take part in the show. He said that he has confidence in all his personnel, so he could easily switch the participants.
From command unit to analyst
After a few shows in the first season, McCabe found himself becoming a bigger part of the Live Rescue series.
“After the third show last year of the first season, I actually went into the studio to become an analyst,” McCabe said. “I was analyst there for, I believe, about 10 shows. When I was in the studio, our Deputy Chief Eric Farber was the one who went in the command vehicle every week, and so he was out in the street.”
McCabe moved from the streets to the studio, becoming a color analyst. Calling it a wild and surreal experience, McCabe said he would sit with the host, journalist Ashleigh Banfield, and another analyst, Deputy Chief Forrest Smith of Mesa, Arizona, to discuss what was happening on screen.
“There’s a host and two analysts that are in the field or industry, whether it be EMS or fire,” McCabe said. “We would basically just commentate on what the experiences were of the responders that we were watching.”
The show and Bayonne’s EMTs are parting ways for now. McCabe said that while the experience was incredible, it was time to take a breather.
McCabe said that Live Rescue followed his EMTs until the end of the summer. After a short break, the show returned to Bayonne for the first episode of the new season. However, this would be the last episode for Chief Mike McCabe and the EMTs.
“We decided that logistically it gets difficult,” McCabe said. “You have to move crews around, you have to make sure that you have the right personnel on, and then truth be told you have cameras riding out with you, and sometimes that gets a little crazy.”
After doing the show for almost a year, McCabe said it was the right time to get back to normal. He said it was a fantastic opportunity that he and his team never thought they would have.
“It opened so many doors as far as awareness is concerned in our industry, which is what really grabbed us initially to become a part of it,” McCabe said. “Emergency medical services is so misunderstood, not just in the community, not just in the state, but nationwide. That’s why I thought this was a great opportunity and a great platform to spread awareness.”
“We have multiple followers from all across the nation now that have grown to watch us and see our small community and how we deliver our service to the citizens,” McCabe continued. “It’s been rewarding in so many different ways.”
But this is not the last that “Live Rescue” viewers will see of New Jersey. The show also follows EMTs in Paterson.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Dan Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.