EMS responders honored this week

By : 
Scott Bestul

The theme of this year’s National EMS Week is “Beyond the Call,” and Rushford Community Ambulance Director Lynn Humble feels the theme accurately describes the work and life of responders. “When I drive around the area, I can hardly pass a place where I don’t remember responding to a call,” Humble said. “And then there are people who we’ve helped, or even saved their lives, and they’ll walk up to you on the street and give you a hug. Many of the calls we get are pretty routine, but there are others that stay with you for a lifetime.”

Humble said “Beyond the Call” also applies to the sense of camaraderie experienced by EMS responders and others who assist in providing emergency medical assistance to those in need. “We’re like a family,” she stressed. “We work closely with the police and fire departments, as well as the EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) drivers and we all function like one big team.”

The Rushford EMS “family” celebrated EMS week with a picnic Monday, May 20, at the Rushford Fire Hall. Humble expected up to 40 people to gather; in addition to EMS volunteers and their families, businesses that employ EMS workers will be presented with Certificates of Appreciation.

National EMS week was designated as May 19-25 this year; the annual recognition was kick-started by the American College of Emergency Professionals (ACEP) and permanently established in 1974 by President Gerald Ford.

 With numbers of EMS workers currently low, Humble is hoping others will show interest in performing this critical, often life-saving role. “We’re at nine members right now,” Humble said. “When I joined 35 years ago, we were as high as 22 people. The more people you have, the better. One of our responders is able to get away from work during the day, and he’s scheduled for days on every shift.”

Humble said most Rushford EMS responders are on-call about every third week. Many people don’t realize that you don’t have to be a [first responder] to help with an ambulance crew. “We had a gentleman come in and ask if he could just be a driver and that’s what he does. It’s a valuable service, because it frees up the ambulance crew to work on a patient and not have to worry about driving.”

 Achieving EMT certification requires the completion of a 140-hour National Registry EMT program, according to Humble. “There are several local cities that host certification classes, and I have a list that I keep of current and upcoming classes,” she said. “Most classes are designed to meet once a week for four hours per session. There are some classes now that have an online component as well. But a lot of the training just has to be learned in a hands-on fashion.”

When Humble started over three decades ago, she was recruited by the late Anne Roberton, herself an EMT. “She just came up to me on the street and cornered me and said ‘I think you’d do a great job’ and I believed her,” Humble recalled. “Of course my husband was an EMT, so that was a motivator too.”

The senior member and director of the Rushford Community Ambulance Service, Humble encourages anyone with an interest to consider a ride-along. “It’s a great way to get a feel for the work, and you can decide if you just want to do something pretty simple, like a transport to a hospital or nursing home, or if you want to experience something more serious.”

Humble says anyone interested in joining the Rushford Community Ambulance Service family has several options to obtain more information. “They can call the ambulance garage (507-864-7577), visit our Facebook page, or hop on the City of Rushford website,” she said. “There’s always information being posted and updated. Better yet, if you know one of our EMT’s never hesitate to ask them for information about signing up.”