First EMS Celebration offers safety tips
An “open house sign” hanged from the ladder of a $1 million fire truck in the parking lot of the Shepherdstown Fire Department, along with ambulances and other EMS vehicles that largely are paid for by fundraising efforts.
The first celebration of EMS Week brought together community and EMS personnel to publicize and promote safety and health awareness to a community that largely supports the fire department and honored EMS personnel.
“We receive little money from the state and county, so most of the equipment you see parked out front today is paid for by fundraising,” Shepherdstown Fire Department Lt. Monte Conner said.
Conner has been lieutenant of the fire department for one year and started the event as a way to give back to the community. The fire department plans to hold the event every May.
The EMS celebration was largely aimed towards safety for children. The fire department provided kits for parents to take fingerprints, items to take DNA samples of their children at home and vital information in case the child goes missing their parents will be prepared to give the information in the kit to the police.
Kids were also given crayons and coloring books, each page highlighted different aspects of safety. The event also had two special visitors, Sparky the Fire Dog and Sponge Bob Square Pants.
“Sponge Bob taught us to stop, drop and roll,” said Cassidy Whitemore, a fire department volunteer and younger attendant of the event.
Geared more towards adults, a table was also set up for people to get their glucose, blood pressure and pulse checked.
The fire department fundraising events are assisted by people, like Whitmore, who volunteer at the Shepherdstown Fire Department.
“You don’t necessarily have to want to fight fires to volunteer at the fire department,” Lt. Conner said.
Whitemore’s grandmother, Libby Nester – who has volunteered at the fire department for eight years, explained most of her involvement with the fire department has been in fundraising. At this event she helped pass out free hot dogs and sodas to the people who attended.
Nester said that the heavy rain somewhat affected the turn out to EMS celebration day. But Lt. Conner was optimistic though and glad for the turn-out which he estimated to be about 100 kids, not counting their accompanying adults.
EMS Awareness Week lasts through May 22 and this year’s theme is “Everyday Heroes.”
“We don’t view ourselves as heroes. We’re just trying to make a difference,” Lt. Conner said.
Nearing the end of the event part of the EMS crew had to respond to an emergency, proving they still have their responsibilities to attend to even on special celebratory days.