Each volunteer has his or her own reasons for volunteering. Sara Khurshid had three. First and foremost, she wanted to step outside of her comfort zone to experience growth. Secondly, she felt a responsibility as a female, Pakistani, Muslim Asian-American to serve in her community.
“In my observation, I think sometimes local community outreach within my culture is overlooked by a greater focus on volunteering FOR those within my ethnicity or religion,” said Khurshid. “I find there is a lack of Asian-Americans in general when it comes to fire and rescue, so I think it’s more important to get involved in the community in this manner. I wanted to help whoever needed help.”
She notes that an added bonus is the opportunity to “defy the stereotypes that exist about [her] identity.”
“I want to show those who are considering joining the fire department that this is an open and welcoming environment,” she said. “What matters is the ambition and the desire to learn and succeed.”
Khurshid’s third reason for volunteering was her general interest in emergency medicine. She was interested in gaining a better understanding about the medical process from the initial response through the hospital discharge.
Stepping out of her comfort zone really challenged Khurshid in the beginning.
“Every single ride in the fire engine and the ambulance made me nervous initially,” she said. “I am a planner when it comes to most aspects of my life, so the unexpected nature of calls was something that I felt quite uneasy about.”
As she ran more and more calls, she began to view the calls as problems that she and her teammates had to solve.
“Once I began understanding the calls that way, it became exciting, rather than scary, going to calls,” said Khurshid.
She notes that every call is different. Those differences are what create a dynamic learning environment for fire and rescue volunteers. With each call, they become more and more comfortable and expand their knowledge base.
“It was also quite a bit of work early on,” said Khurshid. “I will say that the learning never really stops, but the first year is more demanding. You need basic certifications through classes, as well as completing other requirements for the station.”
She notes the advantage of having her EMT certification prior to coming in, as this sped her through the process of clearing higher positions and understanding which skills to apply during calls. EMT certification is a requirement to provide emergency medical services as a member of the fire department. Volunteers can join the fire department with certifications, like Khurshid, or they can complete the class while members at a station.
When asked what she would tell someone considering volunteering for PWCFRS, Khurshid was all positive.
“Join. It does not matter whether you have experience of not, just join,” she said. “No matter the outcome, this will be a rewarding experience in which you will learn a great deal about yourself.”
Like so many other volunteers, Khurshid notes the multifaceted rewards of serving.
“Volunteering is more than just an experience where you give time to help the community. It is a learning experience and a chance to make a second family,” she said.
She notes that volunteering with Stonewall Jackson VFD “creates a bond beyond just those you actively run with; you build a connection with all those involved in fire and rescue.”
Ready to take a chance like Khurshid did? Learn more about becoming a volunteer with a PWCFRS department today. And come back next month to hear more of her story.
Are you looking for a change? Ready to step out of YOUR comfort zone? Here in Prince William County, the volunteer departments provide fire and emergency medical services to the County’s citizens and visitors during weekday evenings, weekends and holidays. Prince William County’s volunteer fire and rescue departments are seeking motivated individuals who have the desire to make a difference and provide an important service to their community. Learn more now.
- Posted by ATW
- On January 31, 2018
- 0 Comments