Do you know your EMTs?

Wendy Fratino

Why do you volunteer as an EMT?

Being a volunteer EMT is so rewarding. It is an opportunity not only to give back to the community, but also to make a positive impact on someone’s life, by being at their side when they need medical assistance. Stabilizing a patient, comforting them, and getting them to the hospital safely give me such a great feeling of accomplishment. And I get to work with a wonderful group of people!

What is the biggest challenge to driving the ambulance?

Driving an ambulance is not for everyone, and at WVAC it’s a choice that you make; not all of our EMTs are drivers. The biggest challenge to driving an ambulance, especially when in lights and siren mode, is the other vehicles on the road. Many don’t know how to react when an emergency vehicle approaches. And some drivers are just rude! I’ve been cut off many times. It really is all about defensive driving and safety, particularly when there is a patient and crew members in the back of the ambulance.

What kind of training is involved?

The biggest hurdle is taking the EMT course and passing the state exams. WVAC members also have a monthly training class run by our medical trainer, who is a paramedic. He reviews skills with us and keeps us abreast of new protocols. EMTs are tested and re-certified at the state level every three years. Our drivers go through an internal training program and are also re-certified every three years.

Don Offinger

If you drive the ambulance, what is the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge, as an ambulance driver, is the configuration of different driveways to residents’ homes. Some are narrow and windy with little room to turn the ambulance around near the house. As the driver training coordinator, I have arranged with a couple of different residents in town to use their driveways as testing modules. I don’t sign off any new driver until they can successfully back out of one of them without hitting something or disturbing the Belgian block.

Have you ever thought of being a paid EMT?

No, I have not considered being a paid EMT. My preference is to volunteer with WVAC; it is probably the most rewarding activity I have ever done. I know most of the roads in town and oftentimes the patients for whom we provide pre-hospital care.

Where did you grow up and how does it compare to Wilton?

I grew up in Wilton since being born, and still consider it my hometown although I have lived just over the line in Norwalk (Cranbury) since 1981. I spend a lot of time in Wilton with our family farm activities, Cannon Grange activities, church activities and a multitude of other things.