Unsung Heroes: EMT Yisroel Ziegler & EMT Arin Shatkin, Volunteers for the Spring Hill Community Ambulance Corps

BY BARRY WARNER

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are required to provide urgent medical support to people who are injured and critically ill, and transport them to a medical facility. As first responders in an ambulance service, EMTs are dispatched to the scene of a crisis. This can be anything from a car accident, a fire, a falling injury, a birth or a person who has suddenly fallen ill.

“Yisroel Ziegler started out his career as a Youth Squadder, riding in an ambulance and saving lives, when most high schoolers would be hanging out with their friends,” said Spring Hill Community Ambulance Corps Captain Graig Straus. “In his time with Spring Hill, he has received multiple accolades and accomplished things that other people can only dream about, from delivering babies to performing CPR and saving lives. Though he has been a member only a few years, the amount of shifts and ride time he gives to our agency makes him an exceptional resource any agency would be lucky to have. We know we can count on him to fill in when shifts need coverage, take back up calls and help to foster the growth of new members who are joining Spring Hill EMS.”

“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 connected to scene safety, such as fuel spills, power lines and traffic before extricating patients from vehicles,” EMT Yisroel Ziegler told the Rockland County Times. “I’m trained to provide basic level life support to people who are hurt or injured. Stabilizing the patient is the primary goal. I must determine whether the patient can breathe, if the patient is conscious or if there is uncontrolled breathing. I can perform CPR, automated defibrillation, artificial ventilation, provide oxygen, follow basic airway procedures, spinal immobilization, check for vital signs, bandaging, splinting and wound care. The GCS or Glascow Coma Scale is a scoring system used to describe the level of consciousness after a person suffers severe brain injury in a car crash.”

Ziegler joined Spring Hill EMS at 16 years old and spent time riding in the ambulance and learning a mix of skills. “I volunteer because I love to help people and get them the care they need,” he said. “When I was young, I spent time in the Monsey Firehouse with my dad, who’s a volunteer firefighter. I enjoy spending time with this great ‘family’ of Spring Hill EMS volunteers. I want to go into the medical field and this is a great way to start.”

“EMT Arin Shatkin currently serves as the corresponding secretary for the Ambulance Corps, and while he is young in comparison to other leaders in Spring Hill, he’s quite capable and skilled in EMS. He is someone that younger members look up to for guidance and training when taking calls,”said Straus. “You can always find him training the new up-and-coming EMTs on their pathways to getting cleared as Crew Chiefs. His adaptability in multiple roles allows him to connect with both our younger members and more experienced members, making him a valuable asset.”

“As an emergency ambulance operator, I face distractions and hazards that other drivers never confront. With the siren activated and lights flashing, I weave around traffic and squeeze through narrow spaces, while I keep an eye on pedestrians and other vehicles. I concentrate on my driving to reach the hospital quickly and safely while the EMTs care for the patients. I took an Emergency Vehicle Operators Course (EVOC) to prepare for the intense driving demands. The skills included inclement weather driving, parallel parking, safe backing up practices and controlling intersections,” Shatkin told the Rockland County Times. “The New York Move Over Law requires drivers to slow down and move over for police and emergency vehicles, including ambulances and firefighter trucks. The OptiCom system is a traffic control scheme that provides a green light and intersection ‘right-of-way’ to emergency vehicles. The equipped vehicles have an emitter, which broadcasts an invisible infrared signal to a receiver, which is mounted on or near the traffic light.”

“I have volunteered with Spring Hill EMS for six years. I really enjoy helping people, because I see them at their worst times,” Shatkin continued. “I train the next generations of EMTs, because when I’m older, I hope that I’m given the proper care by an EMT. The members of the Corps are like a ‘family’ and we have to protect each other. I’m taking advanced life support courses in order to become a paramedic and eventually I plan to go to Medical School.”

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 come 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.

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 communications from the EMTs to the hospital staff enables arrangement for a bed, respiratory therapist, x-ray and a warming blanket. Having patience with the nurse who’s taking the report is a requirement for a quality transition of care.

For additional information about volunteering, call 845-354-0618 or visit www.springhillems.org.