Unsung Hero: Paul Morer, Volunteer Chief 0f the Nyack Community Ambulance Corps

Volunteer Chief Paul Morer is certified to teach the Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC). During the course ambulance drivers are taught how to clear an intersection, spatial awareness backing up the large vehicle and driving in snow.

By Barry Warner

Calling an ambulance has many benefits over driving to the hospital on one’s own. Ambulances are staffed with Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) who are trained in handling medical emergencies, able to provide medical attention on the way to the hospital, prepared to handle the situation if it worsens, able to navigate through traffic much more quickly, able to communicate with the hospital during transport plus aware of the best route to the hospital in addition to road conditions and traffic.

“The position of Chief was created in 2018 and my current responsibilities include: complying with Department of Health and Medicaid and Medicare regulations, reporting to the Board of Directors, handling budgetary issues plus long range planning. As Captain, I supervised line officers, the scheduling of volunteers and the training of personnel. I joined as a member in 2004, became a Lieutenant in 2008 and Captain in 2011. As an example, if there was a large incident at the Mall, there may be a need for numerous ambulance crews. I would set up a staging section, triage section, treatment section, transport section and assign officers to head up each area according to the National Incident Command System (NIMS)” Chief Paul Morer told the Rockland County Times.

“I am certified to teach the Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC). During the course, ambulance drivers are taught how to clear an intersection, spatial awareness, driving the ambulance through a set of cones at an advanced speed, backing up a large vehicle and driving in snow. The last thing you want to happen is to have a patient in the vehicle and not get rolling on the way to the hospital. The types of calls we experience are slip and falls, heart attacks and severe chest pain, abdominal pain and traffic accidents on the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Upon arriving at the scene of the medical emergency, EMTs must evaluate the patients to determine priorities. EMTs must determine whether the patients can breathe, if they are conscious or if there is uncontrolled bleeding.”

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.

Decontamination and cleanup procedures of the ambulance after each call involve wearing utility gloves throughout the cleanup. The EMTs are instructed to:

  • Remove soiled linen and place in a bag for laundering.
  • Discard any soiled dressings, bloody material and other contaminated non-sharp waste in the red biohazard bag and leave it at the hospital.
  • Check the vehicles for needles or other sharps and carefully dispose of them in a sharps container.
  • Spray cleaner on affected area and remove any remaining blood or body substances and dispose of toweling in the red bag.
  • Spray disinfectant on affected areas, wipe over area and allow to air dry.

The Powered Ambulance Cot reduces the strenuous lifting and risk of back injuries 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 to any height position. Patient handling on the stairways and other tight spots come with a potential for back injuries that come from repeated 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.

Chief Morer concluded, “For a long time I had a different career and then I drove past the Nyack Community Ambulance building and saw a sign ‘Volunteers Needed’. It stuck in back of my head and I thought that it was something I would consider one day. It is important for all of us to take a little bit of our time to do something that is ‘bigger than ourselves’ and to give back to the community where we live. I know that at the end of my life, I will have touched an individual in my community. In some meaningful way it is very rewarding and that is probably why I volunteer here.”

For additional information about volunteering, visit www.nyackems.org or call 845-358-4824.