Oct 20, 2011 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
Friday, Oct. 7, marked 40 years of dedication to Rural/Metro Ambulance for Ed Moser, who has lived in Minoa with his Wife, Kathleen, for two decades. Moser is the proud father of Nathan, 34, and Kelly, 36, and a grandfather to Kelly’s two sons.
Moser has cared for thousands of patients, taught CPR to thousands of residents and trained hundreds of people to become Emergency Medical Technicians. He is currently supervisor of public education for Rural/Metro. We spoke with him Wednesday, Oct. 5, about how he got started at Rural/Metro Ambulance, now located at 488 W. Onondaga St., Syracuse, and what’s kept him going.
How did you first get started with Rural/Metro?
The way I started working here is I became an EMT … through the Nedrow Fire Department. I was a volunteer fireman, and they needed day people that were EMTs. And I kind of fit the mold because I was going to school at OCC … After about a little over a year, Eastern Ambulance at the time, which is now Rural/Metro, started what they call a south station, and we worked like a volunteer type thing, but when we went on a call we were paid per hour, and we got some standby time as well. So what happened is the person who was in charge of the south crew was also the fire chief [Eric Salisbury], and he suggested to me that I work part-time and run ambulance calls. And I’ve really been doing it ever since. After one year of school I said, you know, this is what I want to do.
What were you going to school for?
I was going to to be a history teacher… somehow along the way I got sidetracked into the ambulance work.
Can you believe it’s been 40 years?
It’s hard to believe. It’s gone by so fast. I did 18 years on the road, I did 12 years in dispatch, and 10 years has been in public education.
How does it feel to hit 40 years?
It’s gratifying in a lot of ways. Because when I first started working in the business, no one got over 15 years because it was tough on your body … and now that they’ve invented the different stretchers where you don’t have to lift as much, it’s gotten easier to go the distance. Forty years is just, I look back and I’m in amazement to it.
Can you describe the public education aspect? What is a typical day for you?
My main job here at Rural/Metro is to teach the EMT classes. Right now I’m teaching one at the equal opportunity center, which I just came back from, through SUNY, and at night I teach our night classes here. And that’s my main job. And then I fill in with CPR, first-aid, I do all the public speaking, I go into schools, I do the job fairs, and then I work with the press.
What has been the most rewarding part of the job?
Working with the people. Each phase I’ve done has been rewarding in its own sense. When I first started working on the ambulance — everyone always asks, “How many people have you saved?” I don’t remember, but I can tell you the first one I defibrillated … and brought back. I can remember that like it was yesterday. I can remember my first maternity call like it was yesterday … Then I went into dispatch and I started doing pre-arrival instructions and telling people what to do until the ambulance got there … I loved doing that, but then I lost my hearing, [so I was moved to] public education. Now what it is very rewarding is I’ve had some people now who have gone through my class over the last 10 years, they started out with me knowing nothing about ambulance work, I got them their basic EMT [training], and now some of them have progressed into being paramedics and field training officers. To be able to take someone who walking in here [like] a deer looking in the headlights, and now have them as a major part of the EMS system, that’s very rewarding for me.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Well when you first start working, the biggest challenge was trying to make enough money to survive, and we did a lot of overtime … And being away from the family. You have to work nights, weekends, holidays. You don’t say, “Well we’re gonna shut down today because it’s Christmas.” So being away from the family has probably been the biggest challenge.
How many years have you been married to Kathleen?
So she’s been with you for most of this time?
Most of the time, yes [laughs]. As I tell my EMT classes, she probably will be Saint Kathleen for putting up with me for 38 years doing this business … She knew what I did when she married me, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
How have you seen Rural/Metro change?
It has changed dramatically. We’ve been in three different locations. Our first building was a small building over at 411 North State Street. You could put five ambulances comfortable in it. And we had a bunk room, we worked 24 [hours] on, 24 [hours] off. Every other weekend was a long weekend, so you basically lived for your long weekend … That was a very small company run by the Barnes family. Then Mr. Barnes died and the company expanded, and we went to Eastern Paramedics and moved from 411 N. State St. to West Onondaga Street, which is the building up in front of us … As we outgrew that and we got bigger, and the city got bigger, and we started putting more vehicles on, we moved over into this building. And then we were taken over by Rural/Metro and now it’s nothing like it was in the old days. It’s not run by a family; it’s run by a major corporation.
How has that affected the service you provide?
You know, it really hasn’t affected the service we provide. It’s always been the same. When I was on Eastern Ambulance, one thing we always prided ourselves on was we were on the cutting edge of EMS, and they were one of the first private ambulance companies in the area or in the state, maybe even in the country, who provided coronary care work …we were the first to go to paramedic service. We’ve always been the first to do things … so not much has changed along that line. You would think that with a big corporation that it would be different, but we’ve always tried to be on the cutting edge of EMS in Syracuse.
So now that you’ve hit 40 years, what’s next?
Wow. Retirement [laughs]. It’s not going to be in the near future, but eventually I want to look towards retirement and be able to sit back and enjoy life with my wife.
I can imagine that will be a long time coming.
I don’t know. I’m 60 years old now, and as I jokingly say, 62. But we’ll see. It’s going to depend on a lot of things. I guess the biggest thing is, as long as I enjoy my work, I’ll keep doing it.