FAQs

How do I apply?

Print out and mail in our Volunteer Application. Mail the completed application to: Lyme Ambulance Association, Inc. P.O. Box 911, Hadlyme, Ct 06439.

How much time will I have to commit to LAA?

LAA responding members are asked to ride a minimum of one day each week.  Shifts are 12 hours: 6:00 PM – 6:00 AM (18:00 – 06:00).  Days are covered by anyone in town who can answer the call.  Saturday evening is covered on a rotating basis.  While on duty, EMTs do not have to stay at “the barn” but must be in the Primary Service Area.

What other commitments are there?

LAA holds a two-hour meeting/training class on the second Sunday of each month, ten months of each year). Connecticut EMS certification must be obtained and renewed periodically by taking a 24 hour recertification course and exam. LAA will reimburse for the preparatory class for the exam.

Do I have to pay for a uniform?

No. LAA will provide you with a uniform and EMS turnout jacket. During the EMT class you will be issued a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, trauma shears, pocket mask, and pen-light. This can be the basis for building your own “jump kit”.   When certified, these items will become part of a responder kit issued by LAA.

What if I’m not strong enough to lift patients?

EMTs are ordinary, everyday men and women in good health and of average strength. For difficult lifts, you can get assistance from fire police, who respond to nearly every call, or have the dispatcher call for more EMS or fire department personnel.

“I don’t know if I can do that … I couldn’t do what you do”

You’d be surprised. Have you ever been in an emergency in which you didn’t know what to do? Scary, wasn’t it? Most EMTs feel that not knowing what to do in an emergency is scarier. Training and practice will build your confidence to do what needs to be done when others around you panic and feel helpless.

What is a “typical” shift?

Odds are about one in three that you will actually get a call on any given shift. You may go several shifts with no calls or have a shift in which there are several calls. It is extremely rare to get two or more calls in a single shift. A typical “run” takes about two to three hours from the time you are dispatched to the time you return back to your house.

What kind of calls can I expect?

While calls can involve motor vehicle accidents, fire, trauma, etc. more than 75% of all calls are for “medical” (not trauma) situations, often for the elderly.

What if I don’t have the skills to help a critical patient?

LAA EMTs are certified by the State of Connecticut and required to pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam. As such, you will be qualified at the “basic” (EMT-B) level to deliver non-invasive care. When you encounter patients who require advanced life support, you will be able to request paramedics (EMT-P) or Life-Star helicopter whose crew includes emergency care Registered Nurses and a respiratory therapist. Paramedics are dispatched by Valley Shore for any call that requires emergent health care (about 30%).

Do I have to be a responding member or can I do something else to help LAA?

LAA has a great need for volunteers who can perform a variety of tasks that require no medical training: clerical, computer support, maintenance work on the vehicles, etc. Retirees, disabled persons, and anyone else who can devote a few hours a week can help keep LAA running smoothly and know they are serving all people in the community in an important way.

What does it cost for training? Will LAA help pay for it?

The cost for EMT training can vary, ranging from $750-$950 .   EMR training costs are in the range of $300.  Once you become a LAA member, LAA will reimburse half the fee for your EMR training after you complete the course and the other half after you have responded for 6 months. For more information about what Lyme Ambulance does to offset training costs for its volunteers, just ask our Chief of Service or a current crew member.

How long is the EMT course?

The course requires 180 hours of class instruction plus ten hours of ride time in the ambulance or emergency room observation. The classes are held in either of two formats: two week nights (3-4 hours lectures) or a weekend day (8 hour lecture). In addition, there are tests to ensure participants have grasped the material.

How long is the EMR course?

The course requires 56 hours of class instruction plus ten hours of ride time in the ambulance or emergency room observation. The classes are held in either of two formats: one week night (3-4 hours lectures) or a weekend day (8 hour lecture).

Why does LAA need volunteers and what happens if they don’t get them?

Like most volunteer organizations, turnover is constant and LAA must constantly recruit to ensure the duty roster is filled. Lyme Ambulance Association is an all volunteer organization. Should LAA be unable to get enough volunteers to staff the ambulance, a worst case scenario is that residents of Lyme might be forced to hire an expensive ambulance company full time.  Typical cost to man the service with two EMTs per shift could cost as much as $500,000 per year.

Will I have to drive the ambulance?

Preferably yes. Most drivers are EMRs, and LAA prefers to have EMTs who can both drive and deliver patient care, however it is not required. To become a driver you must be over 21 years old (insurance requirement) with a good driving record. You must also pass a driver training program which includes a written test and in-the-field driving instruction.  Most new members qualify as drivers first, then go on to EMT/EMR certification.

Do I have to know all the streets in town?

Our primary service area constitutes the town of Lyme. It is helpful if you know perhaps not every road but certainly most. Lyme only has only a few major routes, but there are some small areas (e.g. Rogers Lake, or Hadlyme) where working knowledge of the area will make you a more effective responder.  Although the ambulance is equipped with maps and you may ask the dispatcher for directions over the radio, EMTs typically respond directly to the scene.

What are the risks for exposure to bloodborne pathogens and communicable diseases?

The ambulance responds to a variety of situations in which exposure to blood borne diseases (e.g. hepatitis-B, hepatitis-C, AIDS/HIV) and airborne pathogens (e.g. tuberculosis) is possible. In keeping with state and federal regulations, LAA provides inoculations against hepatitis-B and provides responding members with personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, masks, face shields, etc.) to protect against these hazards. In addition, procedures are in place to provide aggressive and immediate treatment in the event of an actual exposure. Over the past ten years, no LAA personnel have contracted any of the above diseases as a result of exposure during a call.

Will I need to get any shots or vaccinations?

Yes. LAA will pay for you to be inoculated against hepatitis-B. No other vaccinations are required. LAA also recommends that you consult with your regular physician to make sure your inoculations for tetanus, mumps, measles, rubella, and diphtheria are up to date – a good practice even if you’re not an EMT. LAA will cover you with liability and Workman’s Compensation insurance when you are on duty.

Can I be held liable or be sued if something goes wrong on a call?

“Good Samaritan” laws protect emergency responders (e.g. EMTs and EMRs) who act in good faith and competently provide the standard of care from lawsuits brought by patients and or their families

Will I have to care for patients right away on my own?

No. After you are certified, you will ride as a “third” and assist an EMT while you gain experience and confidence. A LAA member will be assigned to work with you as a mentor so that you can become acquainted with ambulance procedures. Over time, you will be allowed to care for patients on your own, based on the approval of your mentor and the chief of operations.

I have more questions.  Who can I talk to?

Please call Ed Vidou at 860-575-8025 or email him at apache12@comcast.net.   Or feel free to contact any other member of the Operations Group for more information. You are also welcome to attend our monthly meeting/training the second Sunday of each month at the Hamburg firehouse.

I’m ready to sign-up.  What do I do?

Print out and mail in our Volunteer Application Mail the completed application to: Lyme Ambulance Association, Inc.  P.O. Box 911, Hadlyme, Ct  06439.

Spread the word about LAA!

Whether you come to know us as an active volunteer, as a recipient of our services, or just by word of mouth, we ask you to support us by telling our story to your friends and neighbors. Email us and let us share what Lyme Ambulance has done for you.

Thanks for your consideration.