Every Monday and Wednesday evening, Amagansett real estate agent Htun Han wolfs down supper and leaves home about 6 p.m. for an evening class in emergency medicine half an hour away in Sag Harbor. He gets home just in time for the 11 o'clock news.
A volunteer critical-care EMT with the Amagansett Fire Department, Han responds to his neighbors' homes 24 hours a day and can shock a cardiac arrest victim to life, insert a breathing tube, start an intravenous line, treat an asthma attack and provide other urgent care before an ambulance arrives.
New York State requires emergency medical technicians to complete their recertification every three years. Han is taking the nine-month course for the seventh time.
"I've got three loves in my life: my family, my work and my ambulance" corps, Han said.
It was gratitude that got him hooked.
Han, a marine biologist by training, is a volunteer because of his daughter Thuzar, who was born with profound, inevitably fatal birth defects 22 years ago.
After a draining year at her hospital bedside, the family decided to bring her home, but they worried about how they could care for this fragile infant, whose life depended on heart monitors, oxygen concentrators and other electronic equipment, in a rural community where they knew few of their neighbors.
Their doctor urged them to consult the local police, who sent them to see Mary Sweeting, the captain of the fire department's ambulance corps.
She handed them her home number and urged them to call her anytime.
"Don't worry," he said she told him. "Whatever we can do, we'll always be there to help."
A couple of days after the Hans brought their daughter home, a fire started in the woods across from their house, filling the air with smoke and sirens.
Was it more dangerous to flee or stick it out and hope?
"The next thing I knew, there was a fire truck coming down the driveway," Han said.
It carried a generator to keep his daughter's medical equipment running if the power went out. An ambulance soon was parked behind it, ready to whisk her to safety.
A few weeks later, when Thuzar was settled in, Htun Han went back to see Mary Sweeting to ask how he could show his appreciation.
"Without blinking an eye, she says, 'We need volunteers,'" Han recalled.
Thuzar survived to be nearly 6, but Han's devotion to his volunteer service has only deepened, along with the satisfaction of being able to help his friends.
"When you arrive at the scene and that person is Fred or John or David, and they open their eyes and say, 'Htun, it's you,' you can see a calm come over them right away."
Most satisfying of all, though, is coming to the aid of a critically ill child.
"Anything and everything can go wrong," he said, "and when things go right, you literally walk out of the ER as if you're floating on air."