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In a day's work: their vigilance is vital

Cory Walsh, of Rural Metro, pulls a stretcher off the rig for a call in Onondaga Hill.

Cory Walsh, of Rural Metro, pulls a stretcher off the rig for a call in Onondaga Hill. Photo by Amanda Seef.

Eagle Newspapers editor and reporter Amanda Seef spent time on the rigs at WAVES, Minoa Ambulance and Rural/Metro to get an understanding of what the job is like for local paramedics and EMTs. National EMS Week is celebrated from May 20 to 26.

The radio buzzed. Dispatcher said it was a signal 80, a car accident with injuries. WAVES-1 heads toward the scene. Three cars had collided in the entrance to a shopping center on Milton Avenue in Camillus — two cars hit head-on, pushing into the third, an innocent bystander.

Fire department is on scene. Fairmount Chief Jason Mallore walks over.

“This could have been a lot worse, but cars these days are built tougher” he said. “Look at that.”

No serious injuries were recorded, to the surprise of EMTs and firefighters alike. No drivers or passengers were taken to the hospital.

Paramedics and EMTs from both WAVES rigs clear the scene.

Paramedic Jason Casanova had barely returned to the station when another call went out. A 29-year-old male with back pain and anxiety. He would be transported to Community General Hospital. That would be the third of four calls in just over an hour.

“It’s not all blood and guts and lights and sirens,” paramedic Jason Casanova says. “We do a bit of everything.”

His job, he said, is not what what most would expect, but at it’s deepest core it’s about one thing — saving a life, the world’s most precious commodity.

EMTs welcome new life into the world, and comfort families as fresh death takes over. They’re the hand to hold during a car accident, or the person to lend an ear to those who are ill. They’re negotiators, mental health advocates, social workers, caretakers and investigators.

They’re one of the good guys. It’s about the patient first.

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