National Emergency Medical Services Week, May 18 through 24, is the week selected to celebrate and honor the hundreds of thousands of EMS workers serving communities across the nation.
Ambulance workers with Med Life in Bastrop work tirelessly to take care of the people of Morehouse Parish in their times of need. Med Life has three ambulances and six crews. Each crew works for half of the year.
“You don't do this for the money,” Paramedic Dan Owens said. “You have to be bred to do this, for lack of a better word. One of my favorite phrases is 'I wish I made as much money as people think I do.' [The job] is very interesting and very challenging.”
There are three different levels of people who work on an ambulance. There are the first responders, basic emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Basic EMTs have to have about six months of training and all ambulance workers must be certified.
Owens went on to describe some of his typical experiences on the job.
“You get woken up at 2 a.m. to go to some remote place,” Owens said. “We just try to get there to be able to comfort them and get them to a hospital where they can be checked out. Good outcomes are always the best for us. To some people we make all the difference in the world.”
Ambulance crews deal with a wide variety of cases including everything from psychiatric to heart problems. They also handle a variety of non-emergency type situations that could range from taking a patient to dialysis to transferring them to another hospital.
EMT Kellie Phillips explained that they spend about half their time on the job.
“The hardest part [about that] is putting everyone else's needs before your own,” Phillips said. “Another hard part [about the job] is when you have to tell a husband that his wife just died...”
“It can be very emotionally damaging,” Owens said. “Some things, you just can't close your eyes and forget.
“The best part [of our job] is helping people,” Phillips said. “You have to like what you do, you have to enjoy it.”
“I do it for the good,” Owens said. “The most rewarding part for me is to take somebody back home from the hospital. That way we know we've helped.”
In honor of the things they do for others everyday, Med Life workers were treated to lunch Thursday with Med Life Owner Ted Parker and Operations Manager Ron Vollmar.