First Responders Update

By Kelly Gordon - sifrpresident@gmail.com
President, First Responders

Every Wednesday night, I go out to dinner with three of my dear friends who also happen to be Skidaway Island First Responders. Over dinner one night, I brought up a disturbing call I received from a resident who was upset by my latest Journal article.

The phone call and what this person said to me was like a sucker punch to my stomach. I listened; I tried to receive her words without feeling offended or angry. I’m an objective person, and if I don’t put myself in the shoes of another, I will never grow.

All that being said, one of the issues she had with my article and OUR organization was that we are “just volunteers”, and this isn’t a real job. She said I shouldn’t take it so seriously. Yes, those were her exact words.

At dinner with my colleagues, we brainstormed about how to turn this into something positive and focus on what matters -- educating the community about emergency medical services.

To help you better see life through our eyes, following is an example of a night in the life of a Skidaway Island First Responder:

  • 10:30 p.m. - Pager goes off that someone has fallen and has a head injury. Get up, get dressed, turn on GPS, drive to the call in the dark, trying not to hit a deer while simultaneously trying to get there quickly because a head injury can be catastrophic. Get home about 11:15 p.m. and go back to sleep.
  • 1:10 a.m.- Pager goes off that a female is in atrial fibrillation (rapid heart rate) and having chest pain. Get up, get dressed, turn on GPS, drive to the call, and have anxiety because you’re still trying to adjust to the darkness and find your way to the call. Arrive back at home at 2:05 a.m.
  • 4:45 a.m. - Pager goes off, and it is paged out as a cardiac arrest. Sleep-deprived, you get up, get dressed, and as you’re driving to the call, you pray that you make it in time to save a life. A cardiac arrest scene is chaotic. There are a lot of moving parts, including chest compressions, breathing for the patient, getting an airway by intubating, starting an IV, pushing meds to help restart the heart, staying calm in a situation that is far from calm, and doing our best to see activity on the heart monitor. All of this is happening while we try to protect the spouse who helplessly is watching us. Unfortunately, we can’t save this patient. We get back in our car; the sun is trying to wake up as we navigate home. We feel an ache in our heart. We cry. We can’t be strong anymore, and we are physically and emotionally spent.
  • 9 a.m. the next day - We wonder how we can function after a night of little sleep and a feeling of complete defeat from losing a neighbor. The pager goes off again. We start all over.

We are volunteers. We do this because we care so much and want to make a difference and leave a legacy that matters. It IS a REAL job; we just don’t get a paycheck. We want everyone to know that being a Skidaway Island First Responder is something we ALL take very seriously. Our goal is to protect and serve. Since January 2019, we have responded to 591 EMS calls.

We always will answer the call and do our very best to make things easier for you.

We might have too many people in your house. We might have bright lights and a lot of bags. We might not be able to save the life of someone you love. But, rest assured, we will do our very best to do whatever it takes to be there whenever you need us.