Letters to Editor: In defense of the volunteer EMT
Being a volunteer EMT does not mean you are inferior.
You have the exact same standardized training requirements as every other EMT in the State of Colorado. Your continuing education is geared to the types of calls you respond to. You learn how to optimize your “golden hour” because many of your patients are in remote areas of the county and the hour is more than spent just getting to them. Your training is hands on and you embrace it with the hands on demeanor that is your life. You are not the person standing back and watching. You are the person living your life hands on, in the thick of it, without knowing, this is exactly why you are the effective volunteer. You are the calm in the chaos. You are the one pushing the hair out of some ones face, making eye contact and telling them “we’ve got this.” They see the determination and strength in your eyes and witness the compassion and skills that make them feel safe and comforted. You take command of the situation and use your knowledge and experience to affect the best outcomes. You’re not thinking of your safety, but of the safety of those near and around you. You are not fearless. There is fear of the unknown and self doubt to combat, but your courage and bravery overpower the fear because this is who you are. It’s automatic. You believe in community. Helping and caring for others is instinct and part of who you are and who you are meant to be.
Whether paid or volunteer, one is not better than the other, it is just different. EMS in a county this size takes the efforts of all, and all should be celebrated and honored for their commitment and sacrifice.
Respectfully, Karen Burley, an old Maybell Volunteer EMT
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