SPOKANE, Wash. -

Randy Mantooth, the star of the '70s TV series "Emergency!" and an inspiration to a generation of future firefighters and paramedics, was in Spokane Thursday to participate in Northwest MedStar's safety day at Felts Field.

For many Spokane area firefighters and paramedics it was a big kick to meet Mantooth, who played L.A. County paramedic Johnny Gage for six seasons in the mid-1970s. These days however, Mantooth, 68, raises money for programs that help firefighters.

Back in the 1970s, after years of cop shows like Dragnet and Adam 12, "Emergency!" viewers finally got a weekly look at the perils firefighters face everyday through the eyes of Johnny Gage and his Squad 51 partner, Roy DeSoto, played by actor Kevin Tighe.

On Thursday inside the MedStar hangar Mantooth met with his fans, many who were inspired to become paramedics after watching his show. Mantooth said his show didn't have as much with their career choice as their desire to help people.

"I believe that firefighters and paramedics and EMTs, it's in their DNA and there's nothing they can do about it and what hooked them wasn't the excitement of the show but the humanity that the show displayed," Mantooth said.

Emergency! helped usher in the era of firefighting paramedics; if you are old enough to remember the show than your old enough to appreciate having emergency medical care as close by as possible.

You can watch Emergency! seven days a week on Me-TV over the air on Channel 4.2, Comcast Channel 304 and Time Warner Channel 9.