Emma Heads Straight To EMS

Emma Straight’s interest in medicine was strong. Certified as an EMT when she was just 16, she spent 20 hours a week with the Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service. Her usual shift was 6 to 11 p.m.

In addition, at Staples High School Emma founded and led the Prosthetic Hand Club.

After graduating last spring, she headed west to Santa Clara University. She intended to major in biology. But an Introduction to Public Health class in the first quarter — covering the spread of disease, our healthcare system and the socioeconomic impact of illness — sparked her interest.

She switched majors, to public health.

Emma Straight

Emma had no idea of the public health crisis just around the corner. But when her college shut down in mid-March and she returned home, she knew exactly what to do.

On March 16, Emma headed to WVEMS. She’s been working 3 shifts a week ever since.

“I always felt comfortable there,” she says of the Jesup Road headquarters next to the police station. “It was a calming place for me.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it still is.

Despite the public health crisis, it’s also a very safe place, Emma emphasizes.

“I’m really, really proud of our leaders, like Marc Hartog and Kevin Doherty,” she says. “They prioritize our safety, and give us a lot of up-to-date information. We have to be safe. If we get sick, we can’t help anyone.”

The safety protocol begins with detailed questions asked by dispatchers, for every call. Many are now COVID-related. EMTs must be certain of every situation, before they arrive.

Once on scene, EMTs keep their distance while asking their screening questions. If a patient shows symptoms of the virus, they don protective gear.

But, Emma says, “Our patient care is the same as always. It hasn’t changed at all.

“We’re super cautious,” she reiterates. “We don’t know who has been exposed to what. Everyone is on edge. But there are so many precautions, we feel good.”

The public has been great about donating masks too, Emma notes.

When she was in high school, Emma felt good about giving back through WVEMS. Now rather than just sitting home, she feels “really, really good. I feel like I’m really able to do something, at a very tough time.”

12 responses to “Emma Heads Straight To EMS

  1. Nicholas Clarke


  2. Jeff Wieser

    This is my favorite story of the last many days. And I admit that is not a very high bar (!) but, Emma, you are inspiring in the best of times. You go! – and thanks.

  3. Cheryl McKenna Kritzer

    What a love she is and to have her back in town wanting to help the community 🧡 is priceless and another silver lining…
    G-d bless you Emma

  4. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    Reading this you know that she has a wonderful future ahead. She has a caring heart.

  5. This young woman is risking her life. She needs to be put on the payroll and compensated for her dangerous work. Volunteering is great, but this goes beyond charity. Anyone on the frontline should be paid even if they aren’t asking.
    Thank you Emma!

  6. Jacque O'Brien

    Wow Emma, you are a true inspiration! God watch over you and keep you safe!

  7. Elizabeth DeVoll

    What an inspiring young woman.
    Her parents must be very proud!

  8. Caryl Beatus


  9. Emma is my neighbor. I have known her since she was 5.

    That she has grown into such a lovely person is not surprising because her parents Nicole and Kirk are exception people while miraculously not tooting their own horns.

    But for Emma to be tested at this young age and be such a trooper gives us hope for all our future futures.

    Thanks Emma.

  10. Wonderful!!! Thank you Emma!!!!!

  11. Mark Bachmann

    Wow, what a story! This young lady has quite a life ahead of her.

  12. Janette Kinnally

    Emma is one of those gems in the world. She babysat my kids, was an amazing student and is now on the front lines with EMS. Emma, You are one incredible person in this world. And I will give some credit to those parents of yours too (LOL). Blessings and stay safe. Thank you for all you do to give back! 😊🙏❤️