by Philip R. Richardson
Tri-Community Ambulance Service Inc.
The week of May 18-24 was National EMS Week. This year's theme was "EMS: Dedicated for Life." On May 21, Tri-Community Ambulance Service was proud to witness the recognition of a few of its own at the annual EMS Awards Dinner hosted by Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center in Lewiston at the Niagara Falls Country Club.
Mount St. Mary's recognized Amanda Ohlson, Jared Kish, Ken Black, Chris Kassay, Nathan Schmidt and Adam Vanderheite, along with the Shawnee Volunteer Fire Co. ambulance crew that assisted Tri-Community on May 6, 2013, for a fire in the West Street Elementary School in Sanborn.
On that day at 9:23 a.m., the Sanborn Fire Co. was dispatched to West Street Elementary School for an electrical fire. Upon arrival, fire crews found a working fire in an evacuated classroom. The Niagara-Wheatfield School District seamlessly addressed the emergency and transferred all students to the Niagara-Wheatfield High School, where Tri-Community personnel evaluated them. A total of 81 students and one teacher were evaluated.
In addition to the personnel that responded, a special recognition goes out to Ohlson. According to Tri-Community Ambulance Service Chief of Operations Sherri Reischel, "Amanda took the lead in arranging a method to evaluate the students in an organized matter. She had the teachers get their class rosters and each student was evaluated, one class at a time."
Ohlson was key in the success of this incident by utilizing her tenure and experience to her advantage. She has been an active volunteer with Tri-Community Ambulance Service for 17 years and counting, currently serving as vice president.
For such a large-scale incident, all available personnel and mutual aid are required. A very sincere thanks goes first and foremost to the Sanborn Fire Co. for their seamless handling of this large-scale incident, and to all personnel and companies that assisted our agency at the school with the evaluations.
It was with great pleasure that our agency was able to witness the recognition of our very own. As we conclude another EMS Week, we would like to thank each and every volunteer within our ranks that continues to answer the call for help in our community. We currently run over 1,200 calls for service each year. With that number ever increasing, we are looking for willing and able persons to join our proud ranks. Training is provided! In 2013, our volunteers served 22,972 hours to protect our community. Already in 2014 our volunteers have served a combined total of 9,246 hours, which is 338 hours above this time last year!
Tri-Community proudly serves the residents of the Bergholz, Sanborn, Pekin and St. Johnsburg fire companies. We are on the mutual aid plan for Niagara County, New York state and provide mutual aid ambulance service to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. We have a fleet of three paramedic level ambulances and one advanced life support flycar to serve the needs of our residents.
If you have interest in joining our ranks, we would like to hear from you! Our duty requirements are 12 hours per month on a primary unit. Unlike employers, we allow you to schedule yourself via our Web-based scheduling program. If you have interest in joining and would like more information, or an application emailed to you, either visit our website at www.tricommunityambulance.org or email us at [email protected].
We also have a Junior Member Program that allows boys and girls ages 14-17 to join and see what EMS is all about. With our junior program our young members get to attend drills, training and also take duty shifts with our responders. This aids our company in recruitment, as well as aides the young members for full membership when they are 18 years of age.
As we conclude EMS Week 2014, we would like to thank each and every current member of our company; former members, life members and our fire companies for their continued support. Working hand in hand with your local volunteer fire company, we are able to offer unparalleled patient care at a moment's notice, and with a squad that is based in your community, made up of volunteer professionals from your community.