BY BARRY WARNER
The Piermont Fire Department is one of the agencies in Rockland County that also provides EMT services to the village residents.
Samantha Baez is a volunteer firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She told the Rockland County Times, “When responding to a motor vehicle crash, the fire truck will follow the ambulance to the scene. EMTs arriving on the ambulance immediately begin assessing the medical needs of the patients. Firefighters arriving on the fire truck evaluate and address hazards associated with scene safety, such as fuel spills, power lines and traffic, prior to extricating patients from vehicles.”
EMTs are trained to provide basic-level life support to people who are hurt or injured. Stabilizing the patient is the primary goal. EMTs must determine whether a patient can breathe, if the patient is conscious or if there is uncontrolled breathing. They can perform CPR/automated defibrillation, artificial ventilation, oxygen administration, basic airway management, spinal immobilization, a check for vital signs, bandaging, splinting and wound care.
When EMTs arrive at the hospital, the care of the patient is transferred to the nursing staff or trauma team and a report is prepared anticipating what the nurses are going to ask. If the EMTs take an organized approach when transferring the patient to the nursing staff, they can assure the quality and continuity of care and improve the chances of favorable outcomes for the patients. The communication from the EMT to the hospital staff enables arrangement for a bed, respiratory therapist, x-ray and warming blanket. Having patience with the nurse who is taking the report is a requirement for a quality transition of care.
Volunteer EMT Lieutenant Hope Goswick goes out on calls, supervises numerous volunteers in the emergency medical response unit and is responsible for the direction, coordination and evaluation of her team. Her responsibilities include interviewing, hiring and training volunteers, appraising performance, addressing complaints and resolving problems. “The position requires effective oral and written competence plus interpersonal skills,” she said. “In addition, I keep the captain aware about departmental issues. I [also] take Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses to maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas in my field.”
Required equipment for Basic Life Support Emergency Ambulances include ventilation and airway equipment, portable oxygen apparatus, bag-valve mask, automated external defibrillator (AED), cervical collars, head immobilization devices, backboards, bandages, dressings, gauze rolls, adhesive tape, thermal absorbent blanket and stethoscope. The Powered Ambulance Cot reduces the strenuous lifting and risk of back injury for the EMTs. The powered hydraulic lift raises and lowers patients with the touch of a button. The retractable head section allows the cot to be shortened in any height position.
Patient handling on stairways and other tight spots come with a potential for back injuries that come from repeatedly moving patients. Narrow or winding stairs put emergency personnel into awkward positions and place stress on back and shoulder muscles. Lift-chairs are offered with a track device that allows the chairs with patients to glide down the stairs, eliminating the need for personnel to lift and carry the patient’s weight.
Samantha and Hope are sisters and both agreed that volunteering for Piermont Fire Department–Empire Hose Company #1 was a ‘family thing.’ Their father Daniel Goswick was Chief and brother Daniel Goswick, Jr. is currently Assistant Chief of the Fire Department. They stated that there is no greater feeling than helping people in vulnerable situations and, at the end of the day, they make a difference!