I started in this business in 1967 with a department outside Philadelphia. Big reason was, when the fire siren outside the high school went off, junior firemen could leave school. There was no EMS, but the fire department had a Cadillac ambulance with a big shiny Q2 siren on the roof, and we rode on the tailboard of the fire trucks. Two years there got me a paying job with the Philadelphia Fire Department for six months before I joined the Navy.
I was stationed in Virginia Beach and first joined Davis Corner in 1975. “Emergency” was a big hit on TV, and we had some of the first cardiac technicians in the country. There were 11 rescue squads, lots of competition over “boundaries,” and the EMS office was made up of trailers behind the ER at Beach General. Volunteers ran from home to the station and decorated their cars with red lights.
I left after a year but rejoined in 1981 as Virginia Beach EMS was evolving. Whenever opportunities came up, I took full advantage. There is no limit to what can be achieved as a member of VBEMS.
Volunteering has many forms. It can mean anything from showing up when you feel like it to putting your very life on the line. Treat your volunteer efforts as you would treat your full-time avocation. Use your experiences with EMS to further your education and career. Do a good job, listen to your chosen officers, capitalize on your experiences, and I guarantee it will return benefits to you. It did for me.
Some other words of advice: Take care of your equipment – You own it as a member of this organization! Keep the family atmosphere at the stations. Take time for fun and games, and watch out for each other. We have a stressful job, and we are often the only ones bringing a sense of calm into total chaos. Perform at your fullest. Stay on top of your certifications and get all the training you can. I’m proud to be leaving Davis Corner at the top of my game, as a freshly recertified Paramedic and ACLS/BCLS instructor.
I love you all and I will miss you even more.
Paramedic 275, former 200, 230, 231, 232, 250, 251, 252, 253 259, signing off.
Armand Rubbo, NRP