Mason service starts youth EMS program

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/2/2020 4:46:28 PM

After seeing the success of its youth firefighter program, Mason Fire and Emergency Medical Services is starting a similar program for its medical service, hoping to draw in some new blood and provide opportunities to introduce young teens to a career in the medical field.

Mason relies on Brookline Ambulance for transportation services, but also fields six EMTs and three emergency medical response members who can also respond to emergencies. However, EMS Director Jeff Partridge said the department is plagued by the same problem many rural on-call services are – lack of membership, and lack of people available during the day.

“With rural EMS, it’s just very hard to get members, and most people work out of town. Only one of our members works in town,” Partridge said.

One way to address that problem? Get more people interested in the service.

Partridge is starting an EMS Explorers program for teens from 14 to 20 years old, where they can learn basic skills such as first aid and CPR and emergency medical topics. Partridge said he’s reaching out to local police, fire, dispatch and ambulance services he’s built relationships with over the years about other learning opportunities, but said since this will be the first EMS Explorers program for the department, much of it will be led by what interests the teens that enter the program.

“This is a leadership opportunity. We’ll start with the basics, and then what other opportunities do they want to get?” Partridge said.

He said Mason has used the Explorers model with its fire department, and it’s been a strong recruiting tool.

“Retention is better with people who join as Explorers than who join as adults off the street. We’ve had very good success with our Explorers transitioning to full-time members,” Partridge said. He hopes that the same will be true of youths that join the EMS Explorers. He said some teenagers, mostly children of department members, have already shown an interest.

“They have been dying for this kind of program,” Partridge said. “If I can get one interested individual to join us, I consider that a success. This is a service, a way to help your town, and I want to engender that in the new generation.”

Commitment to the program is expected to be between two and four hours per month. The program is open to any child between 14 and 20. Teens are not required to be Mason residents to join.

An open house and recruitment event is scheduled to be held Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Mason Fire and EMS Department, located on 101 Depot Road in Mason. If anyone is interested in the Explorer program, but is unable to attend the open house, contact Partridge at (603) 878-1079 or ems@masonnh.us for more information.


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