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In Focus

The Bertha Ambulance service has been a hot topic lately with the need for more EMTs or they may risk losing the service.

I know this is a nationwide problem and the only way to fix it is for people to step up to the challenge.

All of us need an ambulance service nearby. Without one, wait times would be much longer, and it could be very detrimental to the patient.

Several years ago, my mom suffered a heart attack. Of course, at the time we didn’t know what was going on. It was 2 a.m. on September 11. She woke me up letting me know she called the ambulance. I got up and quickly corralled the pets and shortly after I felt like half the town was in my tiny living room. The crew included a few EMTs and a ton of firemen. How they were able to maneuver the gurney up the few stairs and around that tight corner still amazes me. After they left, I released the animals and headed to the hospital.

Who knows what would have happened if we had to wait longer for an ambulance to arrive. Many of you have similar stories to mine and know how important it is to keep the service local.

Listening to the scanner all day and night is part of my job. The calls they are summoned to at any one time can truly be life-saving or sometimes do not have happy endings.

It does take a special breed of people to be able to do this job. They have to be able to deal with sick people, injuries, and it does not always involve blood but they have to be prepared for the unknown. Lately, it seems, area ambulances have been responding to a lot of calls for falls. If it is a more serious situation, they will call for an intercept with paramedics that can take over.

It’s a good set of skills to acquire because you never know when someone will need your help.

My mom was an EMT for years and I know she loved it. It didn’t matter the call, she was out the door and headed to the ambulance garage.

There were two calls she responded to that have always stuck with me. EMTs are not allowed to discuss the calls and who was involved with the general public due to HIPPA laws. One particular night mom returned from a call and was obviously shaken up. She told me I needed to call “a friend” so I did and found out about the terrible accident—she survived—but not without a lifelong injury. The other time was when they took a patient in and found out she had bacterial meningitis. They had to get a change of clothes among other things. I was the lucky one to fetch the whole crew new clothes, including the town cop at the time. That type of incident is something you don’t easily forget.

There are real risks out there associated with the job. Also, living in a small town you may encounter someone you know. So you do have to consider all aspects of it.

But being an EMT can also be very gratifying. Kudos to all those out there who head to the ambulance garage when a call comes in.

And before you ask why don’t I sign up...

Personally, I know I could do it. But there is a conflict with my job, naturally. I cover fires and accidents as a reporter for the newspaper. I could not be on the scene as a reporter and an EMT. I would not want to be responsible for any violation of the HIPPA laws. I wish I could but it’s best if I don’t get involved in this.

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