Sometimes the tones go off at 4 a.m. and sometimes it's 8 p.m. Whatever the hour, EMS crews push hard to reach the sick or injured in their more than 10,000-square-mile coverage area.
Humboldt General Hospital Emergency Medical Services Rescue Director Pat Songer said there's plenty of adrenaline that comes with each call, but the chemical rush is less about driving fast with lights flashing and sirens blaring than it is about wanting to provide help as quickly as possible.
"There are some real nasty situations out there where seconds can make the difference between life and death," said Songer. "When the tones go off, that means somebody's life could be in our hands and it's our responsibility to be ready to respond in the most reliable manner possible."
HGH EMS Rescue is one of only five CAAS-certified ambulance services in Nevada. The agency, which includes 12 paramedics, and 30 EMTs, has been hailed by EMS Magazine as the standard-bearer for rural emergency medical services in the United States, not only for members' medical response efforts but also for their rescue and hazardous materials response, as well as tactical training and support.
The group operates one of the nation's leading ground transportation services and was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for their innovative use of portable ultrasound in the field.
Now, the crew is looking for volunteers who would like to join their ranks.
Songer said EMT Basics, Intermediates and Paramedics are all welcome to join as volunteers, or "casual call" employees as they are known in hospital circles.
Songer said volunteers may spend a few days at the station each month or establish a more regular schedule. He also is looking for those who can help with stand-by at local sporting and community events.
"We just find ourselves in need of more help," said Songer. "We're looking for people who are willing to bring their current skills, add what we have to offer and become part of this very experienced, skilled and caring team."
Songer said volunteers can expect to be paid for working, for training and for special events. He said volunteers also can expect to find a great deal of fulfillment in providing care to the community.
"This is an extraordinary volunteer opportunity," he said. "We are hopeful that there are those in the community who will recognize that and will want to share their skills and time with us."
For more information about volunteering with Humboldt General Hospital's EMS Rescue department or to request an application, please contact Director Pat Songer at (775) 623-5222, ext. 160.