Emergency Medical Services Week is celebrated in May each year, which is an opportune time to recognize and honor our local volunteer EMTs and First Responders.
The Richland County Ambulance Service is comprised of volunteers from all throughout Richland County that give of their time to help their fellow neighbor in need. With the number of calls increasing, the ambulance service has seen the need to have more people educated on first response medicine. This need lead to the ambulance service starting a new First Responder program in June 2009. The goal of the program was to increase the number of people that have knowledge of basic first aid and also give the ambulance volunteer numbers a boost and offer support to the EMTs.
The First Responder class is appealing to a lot of people because the required class time was less than the EMT class. “The time commitment was about 9 weeks compared to 9 months with the EMT class. More people were able to make the commitment to the shorter time frame, and it also gives them the opportunity to work with licensed EMTs to see if they want to pursue becoming a licensed EMT themselves,” stated Josh King, Richland County Ambulance Service Director.
One community that has greatly benefited from the First Responder program is Lambert. “The Richland County Ambulance Service has been rejuvenated with the First Responder Program,” stated Yvette Lien, EMT in Lambert. “We were very down on numbers and this class has helped significantly. It has also raised moral by getting new, excited, and energetic people involved in our service. It has taken our Lambert service from 3 EMTs, to 9 responders. This makes a huge difference! Many times our patients would have to wait until Sidney got here to assist, but now we can give better care to our patients ourselves and get them to the hospital much quicker.”
Two First Responder classes have been offered and the ambulance service would like to offer at least one more in the upcoming months. The next step would then be to offer a class that allows First Responder to finish the EMT course requirements and become licensed.
Lien added, “If you have ever thought about becoming an EMT or a first responder I would encourage you to do so. I know in our small communities it can be very difficult as we know a lot of our patients. But I feel that this truly helps the patients and their families to be calmed and comforted when they know who is taking care of them. To me it would be more terrifying to be in a situation when I didn’t know how to help a friend or family member that was hurt. It can be very difficult but it can also be very rewarding; it is a great gift to be able to help others.”
If you would like more information about the Richland County Ambulance Service, please contact Josh King at (406) 488-2180.