EMT Sara Khurshid took a leap and jumped out of her comfort zone into the volunteer rescue world. And she hasn’t looked back since. What she has done, though, is learn the ropes, face challenges and continue to grow.
Receiving the Call
From the moment “the tones drop,” signaling an alarm, Khurshid and the rest of the crew are on high alert and launch into action.
“A voice [from dispatch] will tell us the units that need to respond to a call and the type of call,” said Khurshid. “A typical one for the ambulance is ‘Ambulance respond, sickness’.” The responding crew members head to the unit and get ready to leave.”
Getting reading includes ensuring the crew has their personal infection control, or PIC, kits with them, as well as radios, gloves and other protective gear.
Khurshid immediately checks the address on the screen in the bay where the units are parked, so she’s prepared with a general idea of where they are headed. Once in the ambulance, she pulls up directions and marks them as responding. This tells dispatch that they are heading to the call.
Khurshid provides directions to the driver based on current traffic patterns and reads updates, such as where the patient is located and whether or not police are on the scene. She also tells the crew which bags they will be taking with them based on the nature of the call, as well as any needed precautions they must take. This allows them to immediately spring into action when they arrive on scene.
“There are calls that make my adrenaline rush, such as shutting down I-66 and landing a helipad for an entrapment or seeing a car flipped on its side, but the most rewarding experiences for me are the simple calls,” said Khurshid.
She noted a recent standard sickness call where they were transporting the patient to the hospital. He shared some personal stories with her, as well as a goal he had recently made related to bringing hope to others. He had a lot he wished to accomplish, and he shared that Khurshid’s presence, cheerfulness and listening ear made him happy and eased the experience.
“We are taught at the station that we respond to some people’s worst moments and they look to us. This is a lesson I always carry with me,” said Khurshid. “I have gratitude for the fact that I can make a difference in someone’s life, whether it’s for a simple call like the one I mentioned or something larger.”
She shared that so many calls have strong impacts on her and are a constant reminder that every patient has a story far bigger than the short time first responders spend with them.
“It is always our responsibility to treat others with kindness and respect them,” Khurshid said.
While the rewards are great, Khurshid notes there are also challenges each volunteer faces.
“The greatest challenge is time management. As I mentioned before, the first year is the most demanding. There are classes and other requirements you must fulfill, as well as going through the adjustment process of running at a fire department,” she said. “It is feasible so long as you have a schedule you stick to and allocate time appropriately.”
She also notes that it’s important to challenge yourself as a volunteer. She suggests that it’s easy to become comfortable in a position and not push yourself to learn more and progress further.
“There is so much room for growth in a station, so having goals with time frames is a good way to keep pushing yourself to advance,” Khurshid said.
She believes that everyone needs frequent training to stay up to speed on all of their skills and advance them.
“Every call is different, not every skill you learn is as used as others, and protocols and directives may change. This is why it’s essential to keep training no matter how long you have been running calls,” she said.
Intrigued to start your path of growth like Khurshid? Learn more about becoming a volunteer with a PWCFRS department today.
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 February 15, 2018
- 0 Comments