CCRS volunteers save lives, money

By Greg Miller
STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com

   Volunteers with the Carter County Rescue Squad save both money and lives.
   John Burleson of the CCRS says that the service of CCRS volunteers is valuable in operating the organization.
   "Their services save the CCRS money, particularly when it comes to extended missions, i.e. river missions, search and rescue missions, etc.," Burleson said.
   CCRS volunteers' work impacts the health care of Carter County residents in a positive way, according to Burleson. "All volunteers are trained to the same state standards and also to our own high standards and thus provide the residents of Carter County with a high level of care," he said. "They can go out into the community and help teach CPR and assist in public education."
   Orientation, bloodborne pathogens, CPR, emergency driving training and extrication "are all classes they need to take as soon as they are offered, but they may start their service prior to attending these," Burleson said.
   "The volunteers with proper training and guidance can perform various jobs at their level of training. An EMT/IV can respond with paramedics to any emergency, rescue mission, etc."
   Volunteers should always "maintain a good personality, honest, caring and responsible," he said.
   Humor can be an important tool for a volunteer to utilize, according to Burleson. "As with most jobs dealing with the public, a good sense of humor goes a long way," he said. "Often times volunteers and employees deal with situations that most people would rather not deal with, medical emergencies, accidents, and even death."
   With the proper training and license, Burleson said that "a volunteer has the oportunity to gain valuable experience and thus can lead to advancement" as a paid staff member.
   Prospective volunteers must have no prior felony convictions.
   Twenty-five volunteers currently provide services to city and county residents, and additional volunteers would be welcome. "There is no cap on the number of volunteers, at present; with the proper training, they could be used in all capacities."
   Burleson works as the CCRS' Special Operation Rescue Coordinator/Paramedic. "I cannot legally volunteer at the squad due to state law, but I am a volunteer of a county volunteer fire department," he said.
   Burleson has been employed full time with the CCRS since 1994 as a paramedic.