Here’s the benefits of — and myths about — being an EMT

Earn money while you stay at home; no experience necessary, free education. Does this sound too good to be true? Is this some sort of scam? If it isn’t a scam, then what is the catch? These are all valid questions. Well, the catch is that a person does have to commit for two years, the monetary pay isn’t much, but the benefits are more than you can imagine. Who is offering this great opportunity? Seneca County Emergency Medical Service.

For the past 40-plus years, Seneca County’s EMS has been staffed by volunteers. I have had the privilege of being a part of this organization as a volunteer EMT for New Riegel EMS for 30 of those years. I made the decision to become an EMT for New Riegel shortly after graduating high school. I can remember some acquaintances questioning if I was sure this was something I wanted to do. They were concerned with all of the “what ifs.” The major concern was what if there is a traumatic accident and it is someone you know? I ignored their concerns and signed up to join New Riegel EMS. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made!

I became a New Riegel EMT to help my community. What I didn’t realize, though, is that it would help me. Being a volunteer EMT has taught me more about life situations that I ever thought possible. Everyone is going to experience some sort of trauma, medical emergency, or death of a family member or loved one throughout their lifetime. I believe that by being an EMT, I have been better prepared for these circumstances throughout my life. The EMS classes that I attended taught me about the functions of the human body. Being an EMT has taught me life lessons that I would have never experienced otherwise. Another benefit of becoming a volunteer EMT is the people who I have come to know and consider my EMS family. When you join a volunteer EMS squad, you become part of a family. When things get tough, these volunteers are there for each other.

So, now that I have listed some of the benefits, I still have some “myths” to dispel. The most common myth is that one does not have time to volunteer. Actually, maybe this one is true. None of the past or current EMTs had time to volunteer. They made time! They chose to take time away from their family and other events to help the people in the community when they need it most. That is all it really takes — the will to give back to your community. We are all put on this earth to help one another out Being a EMT is a great way to accomplish that. Another myth is that those who are EMTs have been given some sort of superhuman power to handle whatever comes there way. Some may be better at it than others, but everyone has the ability to handle tough situations. It is the tough situations that makes a person stronger.

To become an EMT, all that is required is having a high school diploma/GED, being 18 years old or older and having a valid driver’s license. Classes can be taken before the age of 18 or having a diploma, with a student being certified after meeting the other requirements. The cost of the class is paid by the county, as long as they dedicate two years of service to a Seneca County squad. Once on a squad, the person will be paid a stipend for each hour on call. Anybody interested in joining New Riegel EMS can contact me at (419) 934-9334. Anybody interested in joining one of the other county squads can call the Public Safety Building at (419) 447-0266 and talk to Dani or Ken.

One final thought: What if I never joined New Riegel EMS? What if none of the current or past members joined? What if there was not an EMS station in New Riegel? What if there were no Seneca County EMS stations? What if you or a family member had an emergency and had to wait a prolonged time for help? What if you are capable of joining an EMS squad and don’t? What if?