What can volunteers do?
Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders (EMR), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Paramedics perform patient care and transportation in conjunction with other volunteer and paid providers. Most of our volunteers are medical providers, though we have some members who help with non-clinical activities and training.
What does it take to become an EMT-Basic?
GAA offers a course every fall for anyone interested in becoming an EMT-Basic. The course requires 120 hours of class instruction plus ten hours of emergency room observation at St. Francis Hospital. The classes are held every Monday and Thursday evenings and some Saturdays. At the end of the class, you will need to pass a State practical and written exam to become certified as an EMT-Basic. Once you have become certified and join GAA, you will also need to pass a medical exam (paid for by Granby Ambulance). In order to volunteer for GAA as an EMT-Basic, you must be at least 18 years old.
How much does it cost to participate in the EMT-Basic course?
The current cost for our EMT-Basic course is $550. Once you become a GAA member, GAA will reimburse you for half of the fee after you pass the State exam and then volunteer for six months and the other half after you have volunteered for an additional six months.
How much time do I need to commit to GAA?
GAA EMT-Basic volunteers are asked to ride the ambulance at least three shifts a month. Standard shifts are for 12 hours and begin either at 6:00am or 6:00pm. Shifts for shorter durations are common. While on duty, our volunteers are not required to stay at the ambulance facility but must stay within Granby or East Hartland in order to respond to a call within 7 minutes. During inclement weather, however, you may be required to stay at the facility in order to avoid delays in responding to an emergency call. The ambulance facility does include two sleeping quarters for those who do prefer to stay overnight.
In addition to riding the ambulance, we also ask that our members attend 10 two-hour training classes held once a month either on the GAA campus or at another location. EMT-Basics are required by the State to recertify every three years. GAA holds recertification training classes at various times during the year.
What is a typical shift like?
A typical shift includes an EMT-Basic and a Paramedic. On occasion, the shift may include 2 EMT-Basics and a Paramedic. GAA responds to approximately 1,600 calls a year or an average of 4 calls each day. Some shifts, of course, may have no calls while others may have 4 or more. Each ambulance run lasts approximately 2 hours from start of the call (dispatch), time at scene of call, ride to the hospital, time at the hospital delivering patient and writing report, and ending with the ride back to Granby.
Do I have to pay for a uniform?
No. GAA will provide you with a uniform (standard EMS pants and GAA shirts) and EMS parka for the winter and windbreaker for spring and fall.
Will I have to drive the ambulance?
Not necessarily. We do prefer, however, to have volunteers who can drive the ambulance and deliver patient care. If your shift includes one EMT-Basic and one Paramedic, it will become necessary for the EMT-Basic to drive the ambulance if the call requires advanced life support that can only be provided by Paramedics. In order to become a driver, you must be at least 21 years old, have a good driving record and pass a driver-training program.
Will I have to drive the ambulance or care for patients right away on my own?
No. After you are certified and become a member of GAA, you will spend some amount of time riding as the third member of the crew. During this time, you will practice your new skills with either an experienced EMT-Basic or a Paramedic supervising. In addition, you will need to become experienced driving the ambulance. If you do not already drive a similar-size vehicle, it will take some time to become familiar with it. We encourage practice driving with another crew member during your duty shift when not on a call.
Will I need to know all the streets in Granby, East Granby and East Hartland as well as the surrounding towns?
No. Our ambulances are equipped with maps and a GPS. In addition, you can ask the dispatcher for directions over the radio.
Will I need to get any shots or vaccinations?
Yes. GAA will pay for an innoculation against hepatitis-B. No other vaccinations are required. We do recommend that you consult with your regular physician for tetanus, mumps, measles, rubella and diphtheria.
What are the risks for exposure to blood borne pathogens and communicable diseases?
The ambulance responds to a variety of situations in which exposure to blood-borne diseases and airborne pathogens is possible. During your EMT-Basic training, you will be taught skills to protect yourself from such exposure. In keeping with state and federal regulations as well as your training, GAA provides both the innoculation against hepatitis-B and personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, masks, face shields, etc.) to protect against exposure. In addition, GAA follows a strict policy for providing aggressive and immediate treatment in the event of an exposure.
Does GAA insure me if I’m injured on a call?
GAA will cover you with liability and workman’s compensation insurance when you are on duty. In addition, the State of Connecticut has Good Samaritan laws to protect emergency responders from lawsuits who act in good faith and competently provide the appropriate standard of care.
Does the town offer any tax incentives to the volunteers?
Yes. You may earn a $1000 tax abatement if you are a Granby resident and volunteer for a minimum number of hours and attend a minimum number of the monthly training sessions.