New Workers Needed to Enter Profession
(OnFocus) National EMS Week is being celebrated May 17-23, recognizing all those dedicated to a profession which comes with its own rewards and challenges.
“It is important to recognize all the EMS responders because they put in a lot of time for training and a lot of time away from their homes,” said EMS director Linda Schwanebeck, Pittsville Fire Company.
This week’s theme is “Ready Today. Preparing for Tomorrow,” a slogan made all the more relevant by the COVID-19 pandemic. While Pittsville Fire Company has not dealt with any COVID-19 patients, it took extra precautions just in case by adding extra Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, using masks, and having shields ready in case it needed to perform any airway interventions.
“We were prepared, but fortunately we did not have to use them,” said Schwanebeck.
EMS responders dedicate much of their time, at all hours, to helping the community. Whether it’s a family dinner or a holiday, if the pager goes off, they’re up and running.
“A lot of our calls, it’s not just the patients that we take care of — we take care of the families as well,” said Schwanebeck. Just this week, two Pittsville EMTs helped a patient by driving her car back to her residence. “We might wind of taking care of patient’s children or pets until someone else can come, and that takes a lot off the patient’s mind, that they don’t have to worry about that.”
EMS services are facing an increasing struggle to find new people as those in service grow older and need young faces to enter the service and start filling positions.
“Anyone who is interested in medicine or EMS should certainly stop by their local service and at least talk to us to see if we can build on their interest, because they’re certainly needed, and they’re needed all over the area,” she said. “The state is putting so much extra training needs on people, that it’s difficult.”
Those who seek to enter the profession should keep in mind that the job needs to be a priority as it takes up a lot of time, and that family support is also crucial.
Even with the challenges first responders face, the EMS profession is a rewarding calling.
“Here in central Wisconsin, most of the time when you go out a call you’re taking care of your family and your friends, and your neighbor, so it’s very worthwhile,” Schwanebeck said.