Dallin Peck of Erda just became the newest — and youngest — EMT in the North Tooele Fire District.
Dallin, who turned 18 on Feb. 7, passed the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam at the end of January. Passing the exam is one of the prerequisites to becoming a certified EMT in Utah.
“I think it’s more than just a proud papa moment, although it is a proud papa moment,” said Dallin’s father, Buck Peck. “He’s been volunteering with the North Tooele Fire District since he was 16. … He’s a good kid who’s serving the community.”
Serving the community runs in the Peck family. Dallin’s mother, Steffanie Peck, volunteered for the Bluffdale fire department as an EMT before she and Buck were married. Buck, who’s also an EMT, first became certified in 2006.
The Pecks have lived in Erda for about 15 years. Growing up on a farm, Dallin learned young how to work hard.
“He was working on the farm when he was 3 years old driving tractors around,” Buck said. “We just had him do easy stuff at first, but he could drive it around. I’ve got a picture of him on an excavator at 5 or 6 years old. He’s always been a mature, headstrong kid.”
When Dallin was 16, he was working on the farm when a haystack fell on him. The haystack broke his back and paralyzed him. When first responders arrived on the scene, Dallin saw they were from the North Tooele Fire District.
It was a life-changing moment for Dallin.
“It made me want to do that for other people,” he said. “I was just grateful that they were there for me and I wanted to be there for other people.”
Dallin was airlifted to Primary Children’s Medical Center. He was paralyzed for a of couple weeks, but eventually made a complete recovery.
That year, he decided to apply for an internship with North Tooele Fire District.
“He was 16 when the internship started,” Buck said. “Usually they only have them intern for a semester, but he loved it so much he’s gotten permission to do it every quarter since and in the summertime, too.”
During the school year, Dallin goes in to work two or three days a week, including some Saturdays.
“I do a lot more in the summer,” he said.
After working with North Tooele Fire for more than a year, Dallin invited his father to join him.
“I’ve only been volunteering for about six months,” Buck said. “He [Dallin] came home one day and said, ‘Dad, you need to do this.’ I used to be an EMT … but since then I’ve recertified and stuff, so he got me into it. … It’s pretty cool when we get to do stuff together.”
As the first responder with more experience, Dallin is his father’s senior whenever they’re called out.
“When we’re on calls together, … he takes the captain’s seat and I subordinate to him,” Buck said. “His title is Acting Officer In Charge — AOIC is what we call it. He acts as the officer and I’m just the engineer. It’s kinda cool; he calls them on the radio and sets it up and does everything he’s supposed to do. It’s really awesome.”
Buck remembered one call he and his son responded to together over the summer. There had been a rollover accident on Erda Way and state Route 36. He and Dallin had to extricate a woman from the car.
In an extrication, one person has to crawl into the car and position themselves below the person being extricated so they can cushion the blow when the seatbelt is cut and the person falls, Buck explained.
In that situation, Dallin was the one who performed the extrication.
“I cut the seatbelt for him and pulled the lady down on top of him and then he carried her out,” Buck said.
Buck and Dallin also helped fight the Green Ravine Fire together. The fire burned more than 1,700 acres of land in Tooele County last summer.
Buck expressed pride in his son’s desire to serve.
“He’s always looked to help others, no matter what it was,” he said. “This was a healthy outlet for that desire and he gets to do things that no other kid can do.”
Dallin has learned a lot from the Tooele Fire District over the past 2 years.
“With the freedom I’ve been given, I’m the youngest person to be able to do that,” he said. “At first, it was intimidating and the calls aren’t always the same — when you show up you don’t always know what to expect; you just have to go off your instincts and decide what you think would be best for your crew and the patients that you’re helping.”
After he graduates from Stansbury High School later this year, Dallin hopes to become a full-time firefighter. Now that he’s successfully passed the EMT test, his next goals are to become a paramedic and then a registered nurse.
He plans to stay in Tooele County so he can be close to the friends he’s made.
“I’m excited,” Dallin said. “I like helping other people and I also like the familyhood, the brotherhood that knowing if you go down they’ll risk their lives to make sure you get out of there. … I’ll definitely stay in Tooele [County] because of the familyhood that I’ve built here.”