First Responders Update

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

I want to address the countless emails and concerns regarding the decision we made to suspend volunteer response by our First Responders temporarily. Let me start by saying how difficult this decision was for our entire group. We became medical first responders to not only help our community but to assist the PAID personnel on the island. Deciding to hit the pause button on our services has caused ALL of us a great deal of angst and sadness.

That said, we are volunteers. We have been here for ALL of you for decades. You must consider the age bracket most of us fall into as well. Some of us are immunocompromised due to underlying health issues, and the majority of our team is older than 65. We are at risk of spreading and having COVID-19 just like some of you.

Why would we take the chance to come into your home when you’re sick and potentially make you worse? Social distancing is not only crucial for some of you, but we must follow those same CDC guidelines.

Allow me to clear up some confusion. Chatham Emergency Services is on the other end of the phone when you dial 912-355-6688. WE, the VOLUNTEER Skidaway Island First Responders, aren’t answering the phone when you call. The fire truck you see with red lights and sirens is the PAID Paramedic. He/she will continue responding to ALL EMS calls on this island. When you call 912-355-6688, the dispatch operator immediately pages the on-island Paramedic and off-island ambulance crew. Someone is en route to you immediately. As the message regarding the suspension of volunteer response was being released, an EMS call came in. From the moment the page was sent, the paid Paramedic was on the scene within three-to-five minutes. NOTHING HAS CHANGED for any of you.

It’s imperative that each of you understands how our emergency services work in The Landings. CES is dedicated to this island, and that will never change. The big difference is that they’re paid, have the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and don’t fall into the high-risk category

It is, and always will be, our main priority to protect and serve this community. It would be irresponsible and selfish of us to come into your homes, not knowing if we are putting you at risk.

In moving forward, please pick up the phone and call me if you have ANY questions or concerns about what this temporary change means to you. I’d be happy to speak with you and ease your mind. There’s no way any of you could ever know unless you walked in our shoes how seriously we take our role as volunteer medical first responders.

These are scary and uncertain times. Let’s not forget that we all are in this together. I thank Chatham Emergency Services for their continued support and dedication to our community. Whether it’s a smoke alarm chirping, a cat in a tree, smell of gas, structure fire, or an emergency medical call, they are here for ALL of us 24/7.

Please continue to call 912-355-6688 so that you can get quick and dependable service.  Also, take the time to thank the paid personnel who will continue to be there for you during this uneasy and frightening time. Doctors, nurses, police, fire, and EMS are working diligently to protect and serve.

In closing, please take care of yourselves and follow the CDC guidelines. If you fall into the high-risk category, please take this seriously. We hope and pray that soon enough, this will all be behind us.

In the meantime, we must continue to be community-minded and caring. Please don’t always assume the worse about your neighbor. Moreover, don’t think for a second that we’d desert you in a time like this. We have your back even if you don’t see us in your home.