As members of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors continue to weigh options to help volunteer EMS agencies, one squad is hoping innovative programs currently being implemented will attract more volunteers.
Through its new programs, the JEB Stuart Rescue Squad intends to “protect the way in which rescue squads are ran now, and that is through volunteers,” a release from the squad stated. “We do not want to let the volunteer system die out in Patrick County.”
To that end, the squad has implemented new programs aimed to both increase volunteerism and expand EMS appeal among teens.
The first program will allow residents ages 16 and older to ride along on calls so that they can “get the feel of what an EMS provider does before becoming a member,” the release stated.
“It takes approximately two months to even get a volunteer ready to run calls, and that is without a certification,” squad captain Derek Wagner said. “Unfortunately, after the new volunteer gets running a call or two, he or she may decide EMS is not for them.”
While residents may ride along when they’re 16, those younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian to sign a release form. The only other requirements are to sign a release of liability and a HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) acknowledgement form.
JEB Stuart also is opening enrollment to the Junior Squad for those ages 13 and up. Until now, membership on the junior squad was limited to ages 16-18.
“With this program, we are hoping to provide hands-on training early and help cultivate a genuine interest in EMS,” the release stated.
Joanne Spangler, president of JEB Stuart Rescue Squad, said, “We are hoping this program will spark new interest, and we will be able to guide some new and young members early” so they will be ready to “hit the road running” when age allows them to do so.
“They will not be able to ride on the truck until they are 16, but there are several things they can learn before then” that will provide more understanding about what EMS members do, she added.
Junior members are expected to maintain a C grade average in school and must show their report cards to the squad every nine weeks in order to remain a junior member.
For more information about these programs, call (276) 694-6171 or (276) 692-6724; or e-mail email@example.com.