Tag Archives: Westport Emergency Medical Service

Fatal Crash On Saugatuck Avenue

At approximately 4:20 p.m. today, Westport’s Police Department, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services responded to the area of 294 Saugatuck Avenue near the Norwalk town line, on a report of a 2-car accident.

One driver was conscious, and able to speak with emergency responders. That person was extricated by firefighters and transported to the hospital for treatment. The driver of the other car was unresponsive and did not have a pulse. That individual was pronounced deceased by medical personnel.

The name of the victim will not be released until next of kin are notified.

The Westport Police Department’s accident investigation team, with assistance from the Fairfield Police Department’s accident investigation team, will handle this investigation.

Saugatuck Avenue between Ferry Lane and Duck Pond Road is closed, and is not expected to reopen for the next several hours.  However, residents who live within that area will be allowed to access their homes.

Roundup: Buffalo, EMS, Flower Moon …

First Selectman Jen Tooker says:

“The scene in Buffalo this past weekend was horrifying, and I send my deepest condolences to all those affected.

“Along with help from TEAM Westport, our law enforcement colleagues, our houses of worship and our extensive non-profit organizations, we continue to strive to ensure that this community is a place where residents, business owners and visitors feel safe, supported, and have a sense of belonging.

“This important work is ongoing, and there is still progress to be made. As first selectwoman, I want to personally re-state my commitment to these efforts in Westport. Thank you for your support on this journey.”

Nine of the 10 victims of the mass execution in Buffalo.

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This is Emergency Medical Services Week.

It’s long overdue.

Westport EMS deputy director Marc Hartog knows this has been an exceptionally tough couple of years.

“The EMTs and paramedics of Westport EMS continue to rise to the challenge every day, and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our community.” he says.

“Relieving pain and suffering, caring for sick and injured patients, saving lives is just part of the experience of responding to the public’s calls for help. EMS providers, whether paid or volunteer, take on many crucial roles every day: healthcare professional; emergency manager; social worker; crisis counselor; consoler; caregiver.”.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker adds “EMS Week is a chance for our town to recognize the service and sacrifice exhibited by our EMS personnel over the past year, and to express our gratitude for all they continue to do, day in and day out, for our community.”

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker with an EMS Week proclamation. (From left): Police Chief Foti Koskinas, EMS crew chiefs Larry Kleinman and Rick Baumblatt, EMS deputy director Marc Hartog, EMS crew chief Eric Hebert, Deputy Police Chief/EMS director Sam Arciola.

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Sunday’s Super Flower Blood Moon/lunar eclipse was very cool.

It was also not easy to photograph.

Many Westporters tried. You sent your shots to “06880.” Thank you!

We did not have a Best Images contest. But if we did, the winner would be Nancy Lally.

Check them out below. You’ll be over the moon.

(Photos/Nancy Lally)

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Nearly everyone who owns a convertible loves to show it off.

Here’s your chance to impress the entire town.

Organizers of the Memorial Day parade need a few open-tops for the May 30 event. They’re used to transport dignitaries, like veterans (including the grand marshal).

If you’ve got a convertible to lend, contact Deborah Detmer at the Parks & Recreation office: 203-341-5091; ddetmer@westportct.gov.

It doesn’t get more classic than this. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

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After 2 online-only years, 2022’s “Booked for the Evening” with TV producer/ screenwriter/ author/CEO Shona Rhimes will be the most financially successful in the event’s 20 year history.

And anyone, anywhere can add to the fundraising.

Tickets for the virtual livestream (June 1, 8 p.m.). are still available. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Shonda Rhimes

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By day, it’s the Farmers’ Market. At night, it’s the Remarkable Theater.

On May 27, the Imperial Avenue parking lot — home to both — hosts a special film showing.

“Biggest Little Farm” — the award-winning 2018 documentary about the 8-year quest of a couple to trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland (and a dream) — is set for May 27. Sustainable Westport co-sponsors the event.

Tickets to this family-friendly event are $25 per vehicle. Tailgating (with food from the Market the day before?) starts at 6 p.m. The screening is at 8. Bees Knees — a popular WFM vendor — will selling their signature frozen pops.

For more information and tickets, click here.

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The next Artists Collective of Westport pop-up show is May 26-29 (2 to 6 p.m. each day; the Westport Country Playhouse barn). There’s an opening reception May 25 (6 to 8 p.m.), and artists’ talks on Sunday, May 29 (4 p.m.).

Participating artists include some very familiar names: Peg Benison, Louise Cadoux, Jeanine Esposito, Jane Fleischner, Rebecca Fuchs, Holly Hawthorne, Katya Lebrija, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Steve Parton, Nancy Reinker, Debbie Smith, Cindy Wagner and Lee Walther.

To learn more about this great Collective, click below.

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The other day, Connecticut Public Radio aired an interesting story headlined “How Medical Aid in Dying May Change the Way We Live.”

one of the guests is Lynda Bluestein. A longtime member and former board chair of Westport’s Unitarian Church, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now she’s working hard to get “medical Aid in dying” legislation passed in the state.

Westport’s State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Jonathan Steinberg were very public supporters of a recent bill attempting — for the 16th time — to get Connecticut legislation passed. Once again, the bill did not make it out of the Judiciary Committee.

Click here for more details, and to listen.

Lynda Shannon Bluestein (Photo courtesy of The CT Mirror)

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Saturday’s fundraiser for AWARE — the great, generous non-profit (Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education) — was postponed a day by rain.

Attendees had a wonderful time. And if you’re not “aware” of how much they do for women and children in the area, click here.

Enjoying the AWARE event (from left): Erica Davis, Amy Saperstein, Allegra Gatti Zemel, Michele Glassman, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Mafe Cala, Stephanie Tobin.

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Andy Gundell has been nominated for a regional Emmy Award, in Original Composition and Arrangement. It is for music from a Black Lives Matter program that streamed online in February 2021 from the Unitarian Church in Westport. Gundell is a 13-time Emmy winner already.

The program — “Revealing History–How We Got Here, Why It Matters” — was produced by the church’s Women’s Group. It is a powerful multi-media tribute to the BLM movement, and the history of racial injustice in America. Click here for a link.

Andy Gundell

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows birds of a feather flocking together, at Compo Beach near the kayak launch.

It won’t be long before they’re joined — at least, not far from the rocks — by crowds of humans, flocking together too.

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

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And finally … if you’re on the fence about lending your convertible for the Memorial Day parade (see story above), this might inspire you:

 

 

 

EMS Is Here For Us. Are We Here For Them?

If you’ve never needed Westport Volunteer EMS — whether at home, out and about, or in an ambulance — consider yourself lucky.

Your time will come.

And whether you have or have not, if you’ve never considered where the funding for this volunteer service — including its 3 ambulances, and every bit of equipment — comes from: The time has come.

Read on. Then pony up.

Established over 40 years ago, Westport EMS is a neighbor-to-neighbor organization. Over 100 members give almost 20,000 hours of their time each year, staffing ambulances. They come from all walks of life. (Because they love Westport so much, some are from out of town too).

Some — but not all — of the 2021 Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service crew.

Nearly every call includes a paramedic — very rare, especially for a community this size. Response time beats the national average (and have you seen the traffic in town lately?).

So how much money comes from the town budget?

Almost $0.

EMS is not funded by taxes. The yearly budget — around $1.3 million — is almost entire self-funded. That pays for 7 full-time staff members, 1 full-time Norwalk Hospital paramedic, and other costs like buildings and insurance.

Westport Volunteer EMS — the volunteer arm of the official town agency, run by the Police Department — raises all money needed to buy equipment supplies. That’s everything from Band-Aids (true!) to ambulances (which are substantially more expensive than bandages).

WEstport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service pays for all equipment in an ambulance …

A fully outfitted ambulance costs over $300,000. WVEMS has 3. They should be bought new every 8 to 10 years. For a variety of reasons, all must be replaced soon.

… and the ambulances themselves. Pictured: Mike Burns, WVEMS president.

The stretcher and loading system for each ambulance is over $50,00o. They are replaced when the ambulances are.

A fly car (paramedic response vehicle) costs $50,000. Westport has 3; they are replaced every 10 years as well.

Also in the budget: fly cars.

A Lifepak 15 heart monitoring device costs $50,000. We have 4. A Lucas CPR device costs $15,000. Westport has 3.

Oh, yeah: WVEMS supplies all their own PPE. You might not have thought about that before March 2020. Now you know that vital equipment adds up quickly too.

Raising money — even as a 501(c)(3), even in a town like Westport — is challenging. Most people assume their taxes cover EMS. They don’t.

More than half of all donations are $50 or less; 83% are no more than $100. WVEMS has, admittedly, not done a good job telling their story to Westporters — including the wealthiest families, who already support so many other good causes.

WVEMS hopes to establish a professionally managed endowment, providing self-funding for vehicle and supply needs. Neighboring towns have already done that.

“Every dollar counts,” says Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service president Michael Burns. (Click here to donate; click here for more information, including how to volunteer.)

Burns also encourages Westporters to spread the WVEMS word, to others who might help.

It’s one of our town’s most important services. As noted earlier: If you haven’t needed them yet — one day you will.

Your contribution today will ensure a speedy response — and a new ambulance, if needed — tomorrow.

 

Roundup: Beach Concession, EMS Week, Convertibles Needed …

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Are you Hook’d?

That’s the (odd?) name the new Compo Beach concessionaire has chosen. It’s slated to open today. The menu has been posted on the door.

If you check it out, “06880” readers would love to know your thoughts. Click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

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Happy EMS Week!

1st Selectman Jim Marpe made it official, with a proclamation. Without all the “whereas”es, here’s the gist:

The pandemic has tested emergency medical professionals like never before. Westport’s EMTs and paramedics rose to the challenge, and played a crucial role. EMS personnel have been on the frontlines, caring for the sickest patients and staffing testing and vaccine clinics, despite risks to themselves and their families.

Over the last year, COVID has given people a glimpse into the vital role of EMS professionals. The sacrifice and dedication of Westport’s EMTs and paramedics earned them the gratitude of our community. Behind those face masks are people who — whether paid or volunteer — take on many crucial roles every day: healthcare professional, emergency manager, social worker, crisis counselor, consoler and caregiver.

EMS Week recognizes the service and sacrifice exhibited by EMS personnel over the past year. We give our thanks for all theyy continue to do every day, for our community.

First Selectman Jim Marpe and his EMS proclamation with (from left) Elyssa Grogan, Eric Hebert, EMS deputy director Marc Hartog, Larry Kleinman, Police Chief Foti Koskinas (hidden), Dan Guetta and David Corro.

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Calling all convertibles!

Open-top vehicles are needed to transport World War II veterans during the Memorial Day parade. If you can lend one, contact Deborah Detmer at Westport Parks & Rec: ddetmer@westportct.gov; 203-341-5091.

Grand marshal and World War II vet Bruce Allen rode in the 2015 Memorial Day parade. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Jillian Elder created Finding Westport — a great site for business owners, customers, job-seekers and realtors to connect online.

Then she expanded, to Finding Fairfield County and Finding Connecticut.

Jillian has branched out again. She sells Westport-themed merchandise — and has just added t-shirts. She’s got some interesting items posted, with patriotic and other town-inspired designs coming soon. Click here to browse.

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Update on Monday’s announcement that Pride yard signs are available from Baker Graphics: They’re not quite ready yet.

But if you want one (or more!) to show support for the LGBTQ community, click here. The Westport Pride committee will let you know when it’s ready.

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Staples High School Class of 1988 graduate Kerri Kenney — known for her roles in “Reno 911,” “Counter Culture” and “All About Steve” — has a new project.

The actress is working on ABC’s comedy pilot “Maggie.” Based on Tim Curcio’s short film, it’s about a young woman who tries to cope with life, while realizing she’s a psychic.

Kerri Kenney

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Speaking of Staples: Congratulations to the high school’s May Students of the Month: Yersultan Zhakupov, Jasper Cahn, Wyatt Resnick, Amelia Galin, Spencer Yim and William Fitch.

Nominated by their teachers, and recognized as “students who help make their school a welcoming place for their peers and teachers,” principal Stafford Thomas calls them “the glue of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together.”

In addition, juniors Natalie Bandura, Erin Durkin and Allison Schwartz will represent Staples at this year’s Hwa Chong Asia-Pacific Young Leaders Summit in July. Eighty students are chosen from around the globe. The only other US high schools participating this year are Scarsdale (New York) and Dominion (Virginia).

For the past 8 years, Westport has been invited to send 3 juniors who are interested in world affairs, especially Asia. Usually, a trip to Singapore is included. Unfortunately for Natalie, Erin and Allison, this year’s event is virtual.

From left: Natalie Bandura, Erin Durkin, Allison Schwartz.

 

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Some jobs you can do any time. Others … well you have to schedule them tightly.

That was the case for these workers, pulling big granite steps near the Westport Library Riverwalk. They repaired and repointed them, then put them back — all before the tide came in.

(Photo/Frank Rosen)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo features a pair of goldfinches. Wendy Crowther spotted them, enjoying her feeder.

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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And finally … on this day in 1873,  Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

Unsung Heroes #187

Uh oh. “06880” missed National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

The town of Westport did not, though. As posted on their Instagram, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and 2nd Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker visited the police and fire departments last week — and brought gifts.

(Photo courtesy of Town of Westport)

As the town noted: “Dispatchers are the first line of the Police, EMS and Fire departments. They are voices behind every call for help that we never see but only hear. They work tirelessly to protect department members and residents of Westport. This week we celebrate our heroes with the headsets!”

“06880” adds our thanks to these men and women who work 24/7/365. It’s a stressful job, which they do with incredible poise, professionalism and compassion.

So to last week’s pizzas, we add this week’s Unsung Heroes honors. Thank you all!

Unsung Heroes #183

Last week’s Unsung Heroes were all the folks — young and old, family and friends and strangers — who help others schedule COVID vaccine appointments.

This week we honor the men and women who actually give the shots.

They include EMS volunteers, like Westporter Nicole Donovan. She was at the Lord & Taylor parking lot last weekend.

I was there getting my shot. I did not see her — or any other Westport EMS members. But I did see a slew of National Guard folks. The men and women were uniformly polite, well-organized, efficient — even fun.

During my 15-minute wait after the shot — making sure there was no allergic reaction — I bantered with a Guardsman. He’s a mortgage specialist by trade, but he’s worked full time in the Lord & Taylor lot for a couple of months. He appreciates the opportunity to help.

I sure appreciate his work, and that of every other National Guard member, EMT, doctor, nurse and other medical professional who is helping stem the pandemic’s tide.

It’s not easy. They come in contact with hundreds of folks a day, and that puts them at risk. But we would not be safe — and getting safer — every day without them. Thanks for their service!

National Guardsman at the Lord & Taylor vaccine site. (Photo/Dan Woog)

 

EMS Ends 2020 With A Shot In The Arm

The COVID vaccine has come to Westport.

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics serving on Westport’s ambulances have begun vaccinations, as part of the national roll-out to front line medical personnel.

Officials call the vaccines “a sign of hope for local Emergency Medical Service volunteers and staff, after 10 months of treating the community’s COVID-19 patients.”

Yesterday, several Westport EMS members, along with other first responders from the Police and Fire Departments, received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Westport-Weston Health District.

Volunteer EMT Lynette Pineda, Volunteer EMT/Westport Volunteer EMS president Mike Burns, and Paramedic/Westport EMS deputy director Marc Hartog were the first to receive the vaccine at the Westport Weston Health District.

First responders have been authorized by the CDC to go to any certified vaccine clinic in the state. This allows personnel living outside of Westport to find a clinic closer to their home.

However, the ability to administer vaccinations here will make it easier and more efficient for EMS providers to receive their shots.

“We encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as it is available to you. In the meantime we’ll continue to wear masks, wash our hands frequently and practice social distancing, and ask all of you to do the same.” said EMS deputy director Marc Hartog.

Only 1 member of the nearly 75-person Westport Emergency Medical Service has been diagnosed with COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. Officials cite strict infection control and PPE protocols for keeping EMS members — and the many patients they treat — safe.

Most of the service’s volunteers and staff members say they’ll get the vaccine as soon as they can.

RTM Upgrades Radio System, Seawall; Appoints Transit Director

This is Peter Gold’s report on the December Representative Town Meeting. He is an RTM member writing for himself, not in an official capacity.

December’s RTM meeting featured several housekeeping items, and 3 appropriation requests.

Dan Woog’s invocation gave thanks for America’s democratic traditions. He thanked the RTM for all it does for Westport, describing the RTM as ”its own tradition. It is non-partisan. It represents every segment of town. It is unique. It is quirky. It is ours.”

Members then reelected Velma Heller as moderator and Jeff Wieser as deputy moderator for the 4th time, and thanked retiring Town Clerk Patty Strauss for her 23 years of service to the RTM and the town.

The RTM also thanked Marty Fox and Patsy Cimarosa, who resigned as directors of the Westport Transit District, for their nearly 5 years’ service as directors.

The most expensive appropriation was $4,635,408 for a new public safety radio system. The current system is 15 year old, and has parts that can no longer be repaired.

The new system will piggyback on the state’s existing system. making it significantly less expensive than buying a stand-alone setup. The new system enables the Police Department, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services to communicate together for the first time, and expands the area covered by the system.

$230,000 was approved to repair the seawall along the river at Jesup Green. The project adds a railing atop the seawall to help minimize accidental falls into the river. While the RTM agreed safety should be a priority, hope was expressed that the railing will obstruct river views as little as possible.

Repairs will be made along the Saugatuck River seawall.

The RTM also approved $80,000 for the design and permitting stage of a project to repair the Old Mill walkway and tide gates.

The final agenda item was to appoint a new volunteer director for the Westport Transit District.

Peter Gold, former chair of the RTM Transit Committee (and the author of this article) was nominated, because of his familiarity with the Transit District’s operations. He would resign once the town came up with a plan for the future of the Transit District.

A motion was made to delay appointing a new transit director until February to give the town additional time to decide on a course of action.

Peter Gold

While some thought the absence of a director would prod the town to take action more quickly, others noted that a director must be in place now to deal with day-to day operations, including the new Wheels 2U Westport on-demand door-to train station commuter service, and to prepare the Transit District’s budget for the next fiscal year.

The appointment of a director would not prevent the town from formulating its own solution. Based on this, and Gold’s knowledge and experience with the Transit District, he was appointed as a director by a vote of 34 in favor, and 1 abstention.

 

 

Happy National EMS Week!

Alert “06880” readers know that this is National Police Week. On Thursday, I gave a heartfelt shout-out to all our Westport cops.

Turns out it’s also National EMS Week.

Who knew?

This year’s theme is “EMS Strong: Called to Care.” Westport’s Emergency Medical Service does exactly that — nearly 2,500 times a year, in fact.

We’re lucky to have a fantastic group of emergency medical technicians and responders. Some are paid; others volunteer. But none do it for the money.

They may not hear it often enough. But they deserve a huge thank-you, for their dedication, expertise, efficiency, compassion and care.

I apologize for not getting to this earlier. But — in typical EMS fashion — the Westport crew was too busy working to toot their own (ambulance) horn.

EMS - ambulance exterior

 

Who You Gonna Call? EMS Always Responds

As I arranged a 4-hour ridealong with Westport’s Emergency Medical Service, officials warned: There are days when absolutely nothing happens. Be prepared to sit.

A mid-April Wednesday was not one of those days.

I had just walked into the EMS hallway, next to police headquarters, when the call came in: a 34-year-old male with chest pains, at a Post Road store.

Deputy director Marc Hartog shepherded me into his fly car. He pulled out of the bay, hit the siren — and I watched in amazement as an impatient Imperial Avenue driver tried to cut him off.

Welcome to Westport, and the unsung world of our EMTs.

Westport EMS has 3 ambulances. They are shiny on the outside -- and very impressive inside.

Westport EMS has 3 ambulances. They are shiny on the outside — and very impressive inside.

Police and firefighters were first on the scene, as they often are. But the paramedics took over, reassuring their patient while taking a medical history, providing oxygen and placing him on a stretcher.

The ambulance’s interior resembled a boat or plane: well-stocked, with no wasted space. As we headed to Norwalk Hospital, a paid paramedic and 2 volunteers worked efficiently. They checked vital signs, administered nitroglycerin and baby aspirin, communicated with the emergency room, and obtained insurance information.

That saved crucial minutes. When we arrived the patient was transported quickly inside, and hospital staff took over. Total time, from receiving the call to leaving Norwalk for the trip home: 38 minutes.

I learned a lot watching EMS in action. They’ve got a very intriguing story — and it’s one not many Westporters know.

WVEMSThere are actually 2 parts to Westport’s emergency medical services. “EMS” includes 6 paid full-time paramedics who are town employees, and a contracted Norwalk Hospital paramedic on duty 24/7.

Approximately 120 others — all unpaid — comprise our Volunteer Emergency Medical Services. They are students, business executives, attorneys, housewives, retirees and more.

The oldest volunteer — Jay Paretzky — is 72. He takes 2 shifts a week, and teaches nearly every CPR class. In the 1st 3 months of this year, he worked 400 hours for WVEMS.

The youngest volunteers are 29 high school students, part of an Explorer post. They undergo the same extensive training as the older volunteers, and perform nearly all the same tasks. (It’s not all adrenaline-inducing. They restock ambulances and write reports too.)

The initial EMT certification class involves 200 hours of classroom and practical work. Re-certification — with another 30 hours of refresher classes, and a state exam — takes place every 3 years. There’s in-service training every month, too.

Rebecca Kamins (left) acts as a "patient" during EMS training.

Rebecca Kamins (left) and Whitney Riggio act as “patients” during EMS training. Learning proper procedures are Christian Renne (left) and Zach Klomberg.

The paramedic program takes 2,000 hours, spread over 18 to 24 months. It includes clinical rotations in hospital settings. Every month, paramedics complete 4 hours of continuing education.

In other words: The guys (and gals) who take care of us know exactly what they’re doing.

Yves Cantin is a WVEMS volunteer. The father of 3 children, he takes a 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift every Wednesday and Friday. He spends many more hours as the organization’s treasurer.

Why does he do it?

“There a good feeling of helping the community,” he says. “It’s rewarding to deliver care that’s needed.”

Cantin has learned that despite Westport’s affluent image, our town is filled with a variety of physical and emotional needs.

He adds, “I’ve made friends through EMS. And I learn something on every call.”

EMS volunteers and paramedics (from left) Larry Kleman, Yves Cantin, Kevin Doherty, Marc Hartog, Rich Baumblatt, Joe Pravder and Aaron Greenspun stand ready, outside the ambulance garage behind the headquarters they share with Westport police.

EMS volunteers and paramedics (from left) Larry Kleman, Yves Cantin, Kevin Doherty, Marc Hartog, Rich Baumblatt, Joe Pravder and Aaron Greenspun stand ready, outside the ambulance garage behind the headquarters shared with Westport police.

EMS has 3 ambulances, 3 SUV fly cars, and a fleet of light-and-siren-equipped bicycles for staffing crowd-heavy events. EMS responds to 7 or 8 calls a day — that’s 2500 times a year — from Westport residences, schools, stores, offices, beaches, as well as incidents at our nursing home, Hall-Brooke, and on I-95 and the Merritt.

The town pays for the basics. But — in addition to volunteering their services — WVEMS fundraises for an astonishing array of equipment. They not only buy the ambulances ($190,000 each), but also an expanded $85,000 ambulance bay; the $20,000 stretchers that lift patients automatically into the backs of ambulances, and nearly everything in each ambulance, from child immobilization devices to stair carriers. (With 3 ambulances, they need 3 of everything.)

Monitors and other equipment fill the back of each ambulance.

Monitors and other equipment fill the back of each ambulance.

The net cost to Westport is small indeed. The value is priceless.

“Without our passionate paid staff, and the thousands of hours WVEMS puts in — including fundraising — we couldn’t do this,” Hartog says.

(What fundraising? A low-key annual letter, sent to Westport residents. No hard sell here — even though their service deserves it.)

EMS does not miss much. They rotate ambulances on every call. Reducing wear helps them last 10 years, far more than the national average. Ambulances are plugged in after each use, ensuring that batteries running the many medical devices stay charged.

Hartog — whose first encounter with emergency medicine came at Columbia University, when he took a first-aid class to get out of a gym requirement — says that every day is different.

“Some calls are really routine. The next time though, you have to make a split-second decision. Someone’s life is in your hands.”

EMS deputy director Marc Hartog.

EMS deputy director Marc Hartog.

Hartog, Cantin and paramedic Rick Baumblatt — also on duty the day I was there — recall the satisfaction of receiving a letter from a man or woman (or child) who was almost dead.

The family of a skateboarder with major head trauma sends a fruit basket every year. Another family — whose elderly relative was brought back from full cardiac arrest — thanks EMS often for giving them an extra 6 years together.

For the rest of us, there are 2 things we can do for our emergency medical staff.

We can say “thank you” whenever we see them.

And when that fundraising letter comes, we can give generously to EMS.

Because — paid or volunteer — they give very generously to us.