MEIGS COUNTY — Meigs County has a long history of volunteer efforts to help serve others in the county, something Meigs County Emergency Medical Services is hoping to continue well into the future.
Meigs County EMS Director Robbie Jacks said Tuesday that there has been a decline in the number of certified volunteer paramedics in the recent past, something his department is hoping to reverse.
Jacks, along with longtime paramedics and volunteers Todd Kimes and Danny Davis spoke about the benefits of volunteer efforts and the need to preserve the rich history of the volunteer programs in Meigs County.
To help increase the volunteer Meigs EMS is looking to offer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) training classes locally at a reduced rate. Jacks stated that the coursed often cost $1,400 to $1,500 at local colleges, but maybe offered for around $500 locally if there is enough interest to hold a class. Jacks stated that they are also looking into the possibility of grant funds to assist in paying for the training.
A minimum of 10 people would be required to hold the class, with 15-20 preferred. There would be a screening process prior to attending the class, with background checks required.
Other requirements include being at least 18 years of age, holding a valid Ohio driver’s license, no felony convictions, attending a 140 hour training class for EMTs and 48 hour training class for EMRs, and passing a national certification.
Volunteer EMTs and EMRs are needed in Rutland, Reedsville, Columbia Township, Syracuse and Pomeroy, but the volunteers can be from any area in the county.
While these positions begin as volunteers, some later transition into paid employment with the agency.
This week, the agency is meeting with students in the nursing and law enforcement programs at Meigs High School and attending the job fair in Middleport.
Jacks emphasized that he and his department are not looking to push out those who are current volunteers or to replace them, but simply to increase the numbers of those available.
Davis and Kimes noted how EMS and its volunteers are like a family unit, also noting that it is a little bit of work with a whole lot of reward. “It is not all fun and games, but work — the rewards are great.”
Currently, volunteers range in age from 18-86 with some, such as Howard Mullen with Pomeroy, having as many as 60 years of volunteer efforts for the department.
For information on volunteer opportunities contact Meigs EMS at (740) 992-6617.