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National EMS Week - May 15 through May 21, 2011

It can happen at any time of the day, there is a person that needs medical help.

Some cases may be life-threatening, others less severe. When it happens, local members of the volunteer emergency services are on hand to help.

In Westport, Emergency Squad Captain Ben Sudduth said that the crew has already received 62 calls for the year.

"We deal with fire and EMS calls regularly," Sudduth said. "We have been able to do a good job maintaining the stuff that we have while adding a couple of new EMTs."

Sudduth said that Colin Wells was added as a certified EMT, while Harold Napper was re-certified as one along with himself and those currently certified.

Sudduth added that there is always room for more volunteers on local squads.

"I would love to have the problem of having too many paramedics and EMTs," he said.

Along with keeping those involved trained and certified, there is a lot of work that also goes into keeping emergency squads funded, as well.

According to the United States Department of Labor, 38 percent of emergency squads are the type that are run through fire departments with members who are crossed trained as emergency personnel. Four percent of departments have separate emergency squads, while a combination of 62 percent of ambulances are staffed in some way by a volunteer.

Local emergency crews have been busy with situations both locally and regionally, as during the December snowstorm, in New York City known as the "Christmas Blizzard," Essex County emergency squads responded and made the trip to lend a hand.

The state Department of Health Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) contacted Essex County EMS coordinator Patty Bashaw, requesting that ambulances and personnel be sent to New York City. Minerva EMS was among the many upstate New York to take on the request.

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