East Windsor Rescue Squads Name EMTs of the Year
Both districts are seeking new volunteers.
It doesn't matter if you're in the shower with shampoo in your hair - when your pager goes off, you have to get in the car and go, said East Windsor Rescue Squad District 1 Deputy Chief Kira Behen.
Behen, 27, was named the 2012 East Windsor Rescue Squad District 1 EMT of the year along with East Windsor Rescue Squad District 2 recipient, squad President Amanda Brooks, at the Township Council meeting Tuesday night. The awards coincide with National EMS Week, which runs May 20 to 26.
Mayor Janice Mironov said she hears from members of the community on both the quality of care and caring EMTs give to the service.
“We’re really grateful to all of you and we are really treasured to have all of you serving us,” Mironov said.
Brooks joined the squad in December 2009 and was the top responder in both 2010 and 2011 for District 2 and Behen is the second highest responder for District 1.
"I was surprised," Behen said of the honor. She attended paramedic classes at Ocean County Community College last year and works full-time as an EMT at Capital Health Systems in East Windsor.
The job is an "adrenaline rush," she said.
The most rewarding experience on the job, of course, has been saving lives. One of the four adult cardiac arrest patients Behen helped save now attends annual squad dinners, and she also made two pediatric CPR saves. In the past year the squad also has performed three extended extrications for motor vehicle accidents and helped with calls where victims had to be taken out by helicopter.
Helping people is also what drew District 2 Chief Tristan Torres, 27, to his squad.
The two squads work together, with District 1 on One Mile Road and District 2 on Twin Rivers Drive, taking turns to cover the township on weekends. Volunteers cover each squad every night from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
District 1 recently sent out annual fundraising mailers and both squads are actively seeking new members. With about 30 active members in District 1 and about 15 in District 2, the squad offers free training and hands-on experience to residents over age 18. Cadet members can join at age 14.
Behen signed up when she was 17 and has served in many capacities over the last 10 years, including officer positions, vehicle engineer and cadet advisor.
"We can start you as an observer member and see if you can stand the sight of blood," she said. Later training includes CPR and use of the AED (defibrillator).
Members often take additional training over the years, as changing medical technologies require continuing education. Behen, for instance, has taken classes on topics like confined space rescue and incident management for multiple causalities.
The squad is supported through donations and fundraisers such as teen dances, though in the past it also held a haunted house. With more members, that tradition could be re-launched, Behen said.
Grants also help provide equipment and training for the squad. One recent grant for a flow-vent system helps protect EMTs from diesel fumes.
Behen and Torres said the best way for prospective members to get more information is to just stop by the buildings any evening and ask.
"We're looking for dedicated, motivated individuals," said Torres.
For more information on the squads, visit them on the web at www.squad142.com (District 1) or call 609-448-8992 (District 2), or visit the squad buildings on One Mile Road and Twin Rivers Drive.