PITTSFORD - Driving north on Route 7 past Arch Street in Pittsford, it's easy to miss a non-descript gray building on your right. If you reach the Pittsford Fire Department station traveling toward Brandon, you've already missed the grey building-just like I did.
While the old grey lady may appear a bit shabby - it's a building that once had plans for updating but were never completed - you'll come to know that appearances are only skin deep; the building is home to the award-winning Pittsford First Response squad.
All Pittsford First Response Squad members are trained in emergency medicine to at least the First Responder Level, with many holding Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)-basic and intermediate certifications. The Pittsford squad is the primary response agency for the Rutland County towns of Pittsford, Florence, and Chittenden.
The Pittsford squad is comprised of 11 individuals who are on call to protect and serve their various communities: Peri Swan (EMT-B), John Costales (EMT-B), Marsha McMahon (EMT-I), Marie Fitzgerald (EMT-B), Robert Foley (EMT-B), Melody Shaw (EMT-B), Ashley Loso (ECA), Josh Felion (EMT-B), Kara Samplatsky (ECA), Marc Muth (EMT-I), and Scott Mooij (EMT-B).
There's a lot to handle in the Pittsford area 365 days a year twenty-four hours a day for eleven people who have families, work and other commitments. So when they cannot respond for lack of coverage the 9-1-1 dispatcher knows to alert another ambulance as their backup.
"First Response" is a part of the greater Emergency Medical Services (EMS) network, and involves providing pre-hospital emergency medical care to the sick and injured. Pittsford First Response is dispatched first to an emergency in their local service area, while Rutland Regional Ambulance is en route to continue care and transport to the nearest facility.
Pittsford First Response does not usually transport mainly due to the fact of lack of personnel. Yet in cases of mass casualty incidents; like a bus accident, they have the ability to transport. They are also able to transport when Rutland Regional Ambulance or Brandon Rescue is not available due to responding to other emergency calls.
Nevertheless, it is the first response squad's function to manage all life-threatening issues, obtain a patient history and assessment of the patient prior to arrival of Regional Ambulance. This also means ambulances get to casualities sooner, reaching more within the 'Golden Hour.' The golden hour is the first sixty minutes after the occurrence of major multi-system trauma. It is widely believed that the victim's chances of survival are greatest if he or she receives definitive care within the first hour. Peri Swan of Pittsford First Response stated, "We usually get there about 10 minutes prior to Regional so we usually have the patient ready and the information to provide the crew with in order to maintain patient care."
What drives these volunteers to set time aside to care for others? What motivates them to attend classes and maintain their certification? What brings them to their feet at 2 a.m. to respond to your home to help your family member? Marsha McMahon explained, "It helps me to be more involved with my community and help out when I'm needed. I enjoy it."
If you would like to know more information about Pittsford First Response contact Marsha McMahon at 802-483-6831.