Volunteerism has been described as the beating heart of civic life in our country. Nowhere is this more true than here in New Canaan. As residents, we benefit every day from hundreds of volunteers who pitch in to provide a wide range of services including support for our seniors, collecting and sorting donated items at our food pantry and providing recreational and learning opportunities for our children.
New Canaan Emergency Medical Services (NCEMS), founded in 1975, has embraced this volunteer approach from its beginning. With only 1 ambulance and 18 volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMTs) we responded to 80 calls in our first year of operations. In the decades that followed, NCEMS has grown both in size and sophistication as New Canaan's population and requirements have grown. Today we provide out neighbors with 24 hour a day, 7 day a week emergency medical services with a fleet of three modern ambulances, a paramedic fly-car and more than 40 volunteer EMTs. Last year, we responded to over 1700 calls for help.
Despite our growth, however, we have never lost sight of our commitment to the values that guide our service each and every day. We remain a dedicated group of volunteer "neighbors helping neighbors" in our town.
Some notable highlights from this year include:
- Upgrades to our radio equipment including new pagers and new hand porable radios which enable us to communicate more reliably with our dispatch service as well as our fellow emergency services: police and fire.
- The expansion of out social media outreach and improvement of our website with an emphasis on the recruitment of new members.
- Advanced crisis simulation training for our members including a mass casualty drill involving New Canaan Police and Fire Departments.
- Ongoing monthly training and education for our members under our Continuing Medical Education Program in conjunction with Norwalk Hospital.
Other community outreach and support efforts at NCEMS include:
- The continuation of our Hands On New Canaan program which teaches residents how to effectively provide CPR to cardiac arrest victims.
- Participation in training drills before students at NCHS.
- Providing EMT coverage at the St. Mark's May Fair, the July 4th Picnic and the FCIAC Cross Country race for high school students at Waveny Park.
- Staffing a booth at the annual Sidewalk Sales event on ELm STreet.
- Offering EMT certification classes to the public at our headquarters building on SOuth Avenue.
As volunteer members of NCEMS, we feel blessed to have the support and encouragement of so many of our neighbors and fellow residents. We are passionate about our service and this makes it possible for each of us to volunteer as many as 60 hours a month to help keep New Canaan safe. We are actively seeking volunteers and encourage anyone who may be interested to take an EMT class and join us. Please consider becoming a part of our amazing EMS community where you will make new friends, challenge yourself to learn new skills and help your neighbors in their time of need.
We thank you for your continuing support and encouragement. Please drop by our offices next to the Police Department at 182 South Avenue to say hello or come to our fall Open House. We will post the date on our website at www.newcanaanems.org.