As of Tuesday, April 28, 2015
As firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) rushed about at Saturday’s mass casualty drill in Kamiah last Saturday, one observer made the comment that the EMTs are looking pretty gray.
No question: There’s a lot of older folks who have been in the EMT game a long time around here, and there’s not much younger blood in the training queue to take up the slack when these veterans decide to hang up their shock paddles.
Is this a problem?
A shortage of trained volunteer EMTs leaves this region at risk for the health and well-being of its residents. With fewer available, this reduces the number of backup EMTs for multiple medical calls or to back up neighboring agencies. Highway accidents provide our EMTs a fair share of their business, and a shortage means delays in medical response where just a few minutes can make a critical difference.
Referring back to Saturday’s exercise, trained volunteer EMTs provide the extra manpower in times of emergency, without which our city and county agencies and area hospitals would be left short to adequately address.
We could go on and on, but you get the picture; EMTs are a critical resource, and we need more of them on board to help and to replace outgoing veterans. This takes individuals willing to carve out a slice of time to dedicate to a calling where the satisfaction of public service is the main (and sometimes only) perk. It also takes employers who are on board with allowing their employees the flexibility to leave during emergencies and be gone for extended periods.
But as well, EMT organizations need to be proactive in their own continuance. They can’t sit back and wait for volunteers to beat down the door; they need to be promoting their need and working with their neighbors on finding that new blood.
If you’re ready for a volunteer commitment that makes a definite impact in your community and that looks after friends, neighbors and our traveling visitors, step forward and join the team.