Become a volunteer responder | Westport Column

I’m feeling a bit guilty as I write this on Monday afternoon. I was out for my lunchtime walk with Sassafras and was at the farthest point from my house—about 45 minutes away—when the pager went off for an EMS call. There I was in the woods and fields down by the Stables and no way to respond quickly. To make matters worse, I heard Dispatch repage a couple of times for an EMT. That means that a driver and an attendant responded to the Fire House to staff the ambulance, but that none of our eight other EMTs was able to respond right away.

A full crew (according to our protocols) is a driver, an attendant, and an EMT. I could only hope that one of our other EMTs would able to respond before the call was automatically put out to a neighboring community for “mutual aid.”

A lot of people don’t know that if you call 911 for a non-police emergency in Westport, as in other small towns around the North Country, you get volunteer responders. If you run your car into a ditch avoiding a deer, if you fall over on your way the bathroom in the morning, if you step wrong on the ladder when cleaning your gutter, or (God forbid) if your house catches fire—it’s volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel who drop everything and come running to take care of you.

Chances are it’s your family, friends, and neighbors. The guy who mows your lawn, the woman who rings up your sale in the shop, the plow-truck driver who clears the roads for you. The school-bus driver who looks after your kids. Any one of them could be the first face you see as you come to in a tangle of twisted metal and plastic.

This community has always supported its volunteer responders. (Currently, Westport firefighters are selling raffle tickets for our Holiday Basket of Cheer. Ask a firefighter about them, or call Ernie Lapine at 962-4465). What we always hope for, as well, is to welcome new members. If you’re curious about joining either the Fire Department or the Ambulance Squad, I hope you’ll drop me an email. Or talk to anyone of us. We’d love to have you on board. Please consider joining.

Bottom line is, we need you as much as you need us.

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