Bloomville EMS recently welcomed three new EMTs to its ranks. At a time when volunteers are harder to come by, the village couldn't be happier with its new additions.
"Our squad and fire department are ecstatic about it," said Marty Chambers, EMS coordinator for Bloomville EMS.
Chambers said the squad generally carries between 13 and 18 volunteers, and the new members bring it to 18.
PHOTO BY ERIKA PLATT-HANDRU
New Bloomville EMTs Markie Loftis (from left), Kristie Bour and Jake Hacker sit in Bloomville’s squad.
Ken Majors, EMS director for Seneca County, said the three were part of a class of five that received national EMT certifications last month following about six months of courses. One of the five will join Republic EMS and the other was from out of the area, Majors said.
Friday, the three Bloomville EMTs each were awarded a coin and a mug as part of a welcome into the Seneca County EMS family.
Jake Hacker, one of the three new additions, said he initially decided to become an EMT because he had aspirations to become a firefighter.
"I took the classes and I fell in love with the medical side instead of fire side," Hacker said.
Hacker said he enjoys it so much, he plans to continue his education and become a paramedic.
Markie Loftis, another new member of Bloomville EMS, said she became an EMT because she knew others who are EMTs.
"It kind of makes you fall in love with it when you know someone else in it," she said.
Kristie Bour, Bloomville's third addition, said she joined the volunteer ranks because she wanted to give back to the community.
Majors said although the number of volunteers recently has been low, things are starting to look up for Seneca County EMS.
"I think we're doing a remarkable job. We're moving along a lot quicker than I thought," he said.
In April, Majors presented the idea of forming joint ambulance districts to townships in hopes of drawing more volunteers. The idea of having districts and paying volunteers a nominal fee is modeled after Bascom Joint Ambulance District. It currently is the only district that pays volunteers. The funds are generated by a levy.
Those looking into forming districts include Attica-Venice-Reed, Bloomville and Bloom district, NBS and New Riegel and Jackson and Liberty townships and the village of Bettsville, Majors said. Tonight, he is to meet with the Scipio Township Board of Trustees to discuss EMS districting.
"We still have people doing research on whether they want to go with that system or pay a private company," Majors said. "We're hoping they choose our system."
"In today's economy, working on the system we have in place is much better than replacing it," he added.
Majors said having a system with community-based compensated volunteers is more beneficial than hiring a private ambulance service because the ambulance is centralized in the district, making response time faster. It also more personable because it is community members helping one another.
Majors said another benefit is that it keeps taxpayers' money local because any compensation provided to the volunteers is from the community.
"There's a lot of pride and passion in what we do," Majors said of Seneca County EMS.
"With the community-based system, we're pretty good at handling emergencies," Chambers said.
He said Bloomville EMS works closely with the fire department during emergencies and also works with family members. Responders will make sure a house is locked or a dog is in its kennel, he said.
"We do whatever it takes to take care of a person," Chambers said.
"We really, truly, are family. Everybody knows who we are," Majors said.