From school to the station: a look into Masuk’s student first responders

Many of us here at Masuk have an idea of what our future holds: maybe we will be a historian, a stockbroker, possibly even a volcanologist. The one thing we all have in common though is that we are usually unable to practice certain skills that will help us once we pursue these careers. However, there is a certain group that has that advantage, and they are known as Masuk’s student first responders.

In Monroe and surrounding towns, you will find high school students working at EMS and fire stations in their free time, students just like seniors Julia Hirsch and Adam Pavlik.

Hirsch first started volunteering at the Easton EMS station when she was a junior as a way to develop hands-on experience and learn what aspects of medicine she enjoyed most. 

“We get different kinds of calls, like psychiatric, difficult breathing, falls, car crashes and even COVID calls. We give oxygen, splints, help stop bleedings and do other things to help patients as well as we can,” said Hirsch.

Being an EMT, even in a quiet town like Easton, is still a very time-consuming job. In addition to that, the hours you put in for studying for the National Register of Emergency Medical Technicians exam, or NREMT, will quickly add up. However, this should not discourage you, as there are so many positives to this job. 

“I love being an EMT because it’s a great way to help people and contribute to the community. I also love being able to meet new people — both patients and other EMTs,” said Hirsch.

If you are looking to go into the medical field, this is a great place to start.

“I suggest finding a class in your town or a town around you that works for you, and definitely make sure you have time for the work that goes along with it. It is a lot of work and will take a lot of time, but it’s definitely worth it,” finished Hirsch. 

Similar to Hirsch, Adam Pavlik first joined the Monroe Fire Department as an upperclassman after seeing his best friend George Roelofsen volunteer there for years and enjoy every moment of it.

“In all honesty, the decision of joining the fire department wasn’t an easy one. When I joined I had no sense of what I wanted to do in the future, and I had very little interest in the fire service. I decided to give it a shot late last summer and within the first month of being a member I knew this was something I could do for the rest of my life,” said Pavlik.

Pavlik is currently pursuing a career in the field of fire prevention services and plans on majoring in Fire Science and minoring in Fire Investigation at the University of New Haven next fall. What he learns throughout his time in the fire department will be extremely beneficial to his studies, especially when each call is uniquely different. 

“This job typically is responding to fire alarms, CO (Carbon Monoxide) in a house, car accidents, etc. While on the occasion some of these calls could be a drag, most of the time they are all vastly different and always seem to outdo the last,” explained Pavlik.

Even though there is a bit of a learning curve and the job takes quite a bit of effort, what you learn and face will be unforgettable.

“There are a ton of crazy moments I have had on calls, but the most memorable I have would be the times I have had with the people I met at the firehouse,” finished Pavlik.

Student first responders get to experience situations that many of us can only watch on television or read in the news. If you choose to become a volunteer first responder, know that while it is not easy, both jobs are extremely rewarding, and you will bring more help to the people in our community.

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