Feb 20, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
There are high school students in Cazenovia who have literally helped save people’s lives — and if other teens are interested in learning about and participating in emergency medical services, the CAVAC Student Corps is actively seeking new members.
“We are looking for more students who want to be involved,” said student corps Chief of Operations Pat Karmis. “We attend monthly meetings, we do shifts with the paramedics, we go on calls and do things like set up oxygen and IV lines: we basically act as an extra pair of hands.”
The Cazenovia Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps consists of volunteer drivers, dispatchers, EMTs and paid professional paramedics that provide ambulance and walk-in pre-hospital care to Cazenovia and surrounding communities. The student corps members are teens — many of whom are interested in pursuing medical careers — who assist the paramedics; attend training, meetings and community activities; and assist in educating the public.
Cazenovia, in fact, is the only town in Central New York that has a student corps comprised of high school students.
“This is definitely something for people who like to do this; it’s not just for high school community service. It’s actually a lot of commitment,” said Vivian Wilt, student corps vice president.
“I was surprised at how much you really help out [the paramedics]; they really rely on you for stuff,” said Allissa Parella, student corps treasurer, who plans to major in pre-med in college.
Parella said that while her ambulance shifts have consisted of a lot of college student alcohol incidents, her very first shift was a chainsaw accident. Student corps Secretary Riley Lloyd said that, among other experiences, he was on the call last October when Charlie Thompson fell down the well.
“Some students realize it’s too much to go out on calls, and if they don’t feel comfortable they can choose not to go or go home,” Karmis said. “If you feel this is something right for you, yes I recommend it, especially if you want to pursue a medical career.”
Karmis said his sister originally got him involved in the student corps. He wanted to pursue medicine but eventually changed his mind. He has stayed in the student corps, however, because he wanted to contribute to his community, he said. “And it’s a nice tool in life to know CPR,” he said.
Student corps members are required to be CPR and First Aid certified, to commit to a minimum of two three-hour shifts each month and to attend at least seven of the 10 monthly meetings. The student corps also requires its members to follow the Cazenovia Central School District student guidelines for behavior.
The CAVAC Student Corps currently has 31 total members, about 17 of those are new this past year — and they are interested in gaining many more, Wilt said.
To become a member of CAVAC Student Corps, a student must be at least 15 years-old. Applicants must also submit their last quarter grades, write an essay on why they want to join and participate in an interview. If they are offered membership, there will be a 90-day probation period and then a final decision by the student corps leadership. Upon membership approval, members must complete a first-aid course and be certified for CPR and AED (automatic external defibrillator). CAVAC provides all the necessary training.
While students must be at least 15 years-old for full Student Corps membership, the new CAVAC Junior Corps is open to those who are 14 years old. This enables students to complete all of the training so that they are eligible to ride the ambulance as soon as they turn 15.
For more information, visit the CAVAC website at cavacambulance.org, call 655-9798 or stop in the CAVAC building at 106 Nelson St.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.