• 75°

Answering a call for help

It starts with a call for help. When an incident causes serious illness or injury, someone makes a phone call. Each occurrence is different. There are traffic-related injuries, workplace accidents, heart attacks, strokes, falls and countless other events that place life and limb at risk.

After the call, emergency vehicles respond.

In years gone by, the situation was different. The Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association explains “The system we have in place today was forged one link at time, dating as far back as the Civil War. With widespread trauma, a systematic and organized method of field care and transport of the injured was born out of necessity. It wasn’t until 1865, however that the first civilian ambulance was put into service in Cincinnati.”

Our nation’s first independent, volunteer rescue squad was established in Roanoke in 1928. Virginia’s first EMT-paramedics were certified in 1976. Today, the existence of emergency personnel waiting to be called into action is so ubiquitous that their presence is easy to take for granted.

To help raise awareness, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the American College of Emergency Physicians work together in support of National EMS Week to recognize the contributions of personnel who bring pre-hospital care to people in need. This year, National EMS Week will be observed on May 20-26.

Many of the men and women who serve as EMTs and paramedics across the counties that comprise Southside Virginia received their training from programs at SVCC. Ricky Lyles, Instructor of Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services, wants prospective students to know, “SVCC offers a comprehensive slate of courses to prepare students for EMS careers.” These include four Career Studies Certificates and an associate degree in Emergency Medical Services.

Contact Ricky Lyles (ricky.lyles@southside. edu or (434) 736-2097 or Bobby Lester (bobby. lester@southside.edu or (434) 949-6603 for more information.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans 10 counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside. edu.