By Breeanna Runyan
The Libby Volunteer Ambulance Service is looking for volunteers who are willing to meet all of the requirements needed to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Currently, there are only fifteen people volunteering, and there are fifteen more spots that need to be filled in order to have a full crew effectively providing their much-needed services to the community.
“Right now, the crew is so overworked that we risk burnout and losing more volunteers,” said member Vince Brown.
Due to new state regulations as well as the intensity of the work involved in responding to 911 calls, Libby Volunteer Ambulance (LVA) requires volunteers to take a 200 hour EMT class in order to join.
Once a person finishes the classes and passes the two required exams, they can apply for state licensure. It’s a big commitment, but the ambulance service will cover the expenses of training, testing and licensing fees for EMTs who join the service, Brown told The Montanian, and being an EMT is a valuable life skill too. Another reason to volunteer for LVA is the retirement benefit offered after five years of service.
In order to get an EMT class started, more than ten people need to be interested in participating since it takes a lot of preparation and work. This fall, a class started with twenty-two people, but now there are only ten remaining, said Brown who acts as lead instructor. “Unfortunately, it’s typical to lose 60- 70% of participants in each class,” he said. “The hours are required for licensing so attendance is very important, and it’s so time intensive that it can be hard for volunteers who are busy with other commitments.”
Once a member of LVA, volunteers are asked to work a minimum of 48 hours per month. Right now, with fewer members, many people volunteer much more.
Along with working 48 hours per month, volunteers must maintain their skills and earn continuing education too, but membership can be very fulfilling. “It is extremely rewarding for me to give back to the community,” said Brown.
With an average of two or more 911 calls per day, the need for more volunteers is becoming desperate. LVA is asking for willing participants to reach out the them and begin serving our community by joining the ambulance.
“If we don’t have volunteers, Libby doesn’t have 911 coverage,” said Brown. What’s a more worthwhile cause?
Contact LVA at 293-6512 for more information about volunteering.
Photo of the Libby Volunteer Ambulance Barn courtesy of Viktoriya Smith, The Montanian.