Cadet EMTs Serve with Area Squads
Fairfield Squad President Jim Quist plays the patient as cadets Dylan Kelly and Katie Coonan practice backboarding. – VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.
LEXINGTON, Va., Nov. 8, 2011 -- Cadets volunteering with local rescue squads are building bridges with the community and saving lives in the process.
At the Fairfield squad, the 15 cadet volunteers have been able to take on a significant share of the responsibility.
I feel like we've opened up the doors for them to participate here, said Jim Quist, president of the Fairfield Volunteer Rescue Squad. I can say to these guys, Lives are in your hands, and I trust them.
The cadets take that responsibility seriously, realizing that their actions can make the difference between life and death.
Early on, when I started doing this on my own, I had a call reporting a 6-year-old girl having difficulty breathing said Dylan Kelly '14. When I got out there, a woman handed me this limp 6-year old-girl, and I knew these people were really depending on me.
Kelly's actions helped save the girl, and similar experiences have given the cadets new insight into everyday life.
I think the car crashes have changed the way I see things most, especially when it comes to people not wearing seat belts or driving after having a couple of drinks, said Katie Coonan '13.
Cadets are on duty at the Fairfield Volunteer Rescue Squad for overnight shifts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. In addition, they are able to devote free time on weekends and summers to the rescue squad.
Part of being a VMI cadet is being part of a bigger community, said Quist. These are just some of the cadets who have applied that to not only the community of VMI, but also the community in which they reside.
Cadets routinely have the opportunity to live at the fire department over the summer, giving them a depth of experience that would be impossible otherwise. Kelly spent his summer living at the rescue squad and responding to calls.
I didn't realize how crazy it was until it did it, said Kelly, who responded to about 70 calls over the summer. I've had calls where some of my professors have been the ones in need.
Cadets work in duty crews consisting of two to three members, usually consisting of both males and females who are certified to give emergency care and drive the ambulance.
I think it's good for the patients to have male and female responders, said Coonan. Even though we're not going to feel awkward about it, the patient might feel awkward.
Rural rescue squads in the area are dependent on the participation of skilled volunteers. Having the cadets participate in Fairfield enhances the squad's ability to serve the community.
When these cadets are giving of themselves in this fashion, this speaks highly of their character, said Quist. It's been a pleasure for me to share time with these guys.
Cadet EMTs also volunteer with the Lexington rescue squad.
--John Robertson IV