Weston EMS Year in Review

Weston’s second EMT class of 2016 in the ambulance bay, from left to right in the back row: Gayle Wall, John Quist, Adria Belport, Andy McGrade, Sharon Jaffee, Elena Moffly, Cindy Friedrichsen, Mike Zegers, Gisselle Pena, Mary Galasinski, April Rademacher, and Alycia Angus. Front row: Aren Watt and Matt Watt.

Weston’s second EMT class of 2016 in the ambulance bay, from left to right in the back row: Gayle Wall, John Quist, Adria Belport, Andy McGrade, Sharon Jaffee, Elena Moffly, Cindy Friedrichsen, Mike Zegers, Gisselle Pena, Mary Galasinski, April Rademacher, and Alycia Angus. Front row: Aren Watt and Matt Watt.

2016 was a year of big changes for the all-volunteer members of the Weston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organization.

Two new emergency medical technician (EMT) classes led to 18 new members and additional student members joining the ranks. Additionally, the department got a new ambulance and said goodbye to several longtime volunteers.

Recruits

Weston EMS attracted two classes of new EMTs this year. The first class began in the fall of 2015, with graduates gaining the state certification and going on calls in early 2016. This class included Georgina Davies, Michelle Halpin, Amanda Giannitti, Tom Janson, Triwa Lee-Chin, Joe Cina, and Andy Wittenstein.

A second class started in the spring of 2016, with those members gaining their state certifications in the fall and winter.

New members from this class include Alycia Angus, Adria Belport, Cindy Friedrichsen, Mary Galasinski, Sharon Jaffe, Andy McGrade, Elena Moffly, John Quist, April Rademacher, Gayle Wall, and Mike Zegers.

“Becoming a member of the department is not easy,” said HR Officer Karyl McGill. “It requires 200 hours of classroom instruction, a number of weekends of practical skills training and practice, followed by class written and practical finals, and then a state of Connecticut written and practical exam.”

New members are accepted into the department as probationary members, and then spend approximately a year going on calls with full members, gaining experience and learning on the job.

Each new member is assigned a mentor, who meets with the new member and reviews the person’s learning, goals, and training needs to keep each new member on the path to full member status within the department.

All new members are also trained and certified on driving the ambulance, maintaining supplies, and using the equipment in the ambulance on emergency calls.

According to McGill, there are no plans to run an EMT class in 2017 but the department is taking applications and building an interest list.

Those interested in becoming members may contact membership chair Martina Kaeslin at [email protected]

Weston’s first EMT class of 2016, from left to right: Joe Cina, instructor Jim Brubaker, Henry Scavone, Georgina Davies, Tom Janson, Michelle Halpin, Amanda Giannitti, Andy Wittenstein, Triwa Lee-Chin, Tom Barcello, and Grace Low.

Weston’s first EMT class of 2016, from left to right: Joe Cina, instructor Jim Brubaker, Henry Scavone, Georgina Davies, Tom Janson, Michelle Halpin, Amanda Giannitti, Andy Wittenstein, Triwa Lee-Chin, Tom Barcello, and Grace Low.

New ambulance

After a selection process of almost a year, the department took delivery of a new Lifeline ambulance at the end of August.

The new ambulance replaces one of the department’s older Horton ambulances, from 2008.

The ambulance was purchased from Eastford Fire and Rescue, a Connecticut-based emergency vehicles service company and a leading supplier of emergency vehicles.  

“The new ambulance has a number of safety improvements in the construction of the truck and patient care area, making for a safer experience for both patients and the crew,” said vehicle manager Chris Bradbury.

Using new materials and techniques, the new ambulance has a more spacious patient care area without being any bigger. Other improvements include enhanced emissions controls, improved emergency lighting, and new radio equipment.

The department is currently raising money to pay off the purchase of the new ambulance.

Weston EMS is also looking to sell the older ambulance that the new unit replaced, as either an ambulance for another EMS organization or possibly as a work truck. Interested persons may call Chris Bradbury at 203-246-0127.

EMS_logo-1-26Student program

Two years ago, the department started a student member category.

Students must be at least 16 years old and have certification as an EMR or EMT. Student members go on calls, provide patient care, document patient care, learn about the ambulance and the emergency equipment, and get a chance to see if this is a career they may be interested in pursuing.

Students are on duty after school, on weekends, and in the early evenings.

The first student members included Zach Galasinski, Greg Portner, Austin Brandt, Nina Low, and Aaron Pomerance.

Current student members are Gib Shea, Sebastian Casellas, Augusta Alwang, Brittany Gilmore, and Ben Muller. Alwang, Gilmore and Muller have left Weston for college, but pick up shifts during school vacations and over the summer.

Annual appeal

Weston volunteer EMS is in the final stages of its annual appeal.

WVEMS relies entirely on donations to fund operations, and receives no money from the town of Weston or from Weston taxpayers.

The annual appeal is the main source of operating revenue for the department, and according to Jon Weingarten, EMS president, this year’s donations have been lower than in past years.

“We’ve seen a drop in the number of donors, and donation dollar amounts are down,” said Weingarten. “This year, the department tried offering gifts in return for donations, which has been well received, but the overall results are still lower than what is needed to meet the operating needs of the department.”

Those interested in donating may visit the department’s website, westonems.com, and look for the Donate button.

Moving forward

As with any volunteer-driven organization, members leave as lives change.

The department said goodbye to four longtime members when Robert Oborenko, Giselle Vogel and Yvonne Ehrismann resigned over the last year, with their lives taking them in different directions. Kristen Papen also left the department, following a move out of town in pursuit of her career.   

Life members Walter and Sandy Dadik, two of the most significant individuals in the history of the WVEMS organization, moved from town also, retiring to their home in Vermont.

The Dadiks were instrumental in the founding and organization of the Weston EMS, building the group from a handful of dedicated volunteers in the 1970s using a station wagon donated to the department.

The Dadiks were recognized two years ago by the town and the department when they moved from active members to life members.  

A look at 2017

With almost 50 active members, the department is going into 2017 with one of its largest ever memberships.

“We’re incredibly well-positioned for 2017,” said Weingarten. “This means we have more members on crews, move coverage, and the ability to continue to meet the needs of our Weston residents. We can also look to expand our outreach to organizations in the schools and with our seniors.”

The state of Connecticut also expanded the role of EMTs in 2016, with changes being rolled out in 2017.

The use of naloxone, or Narcan, by EMTs has been implemented.

New rules on aspirin, the breathing treatment CPAP, epinephrine, and CPR are also being implemented.

The department is revising its website, and there will be new CPR training initiatives.

All of these mean a busy winter and spring for the volunteers of Weston Volunteer EMS.

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. The Weston Forum, 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress