Medical training was standard and advanced first aid and state provided courses E0-1 through E0-6. This included specialized topics such as childbirth, controlling bleeding, burn emergencies, head, neck and spinal injuries and other medical emergencies. They also took other continuing education classes through Rescue Institute at UNC Chapel Hill during the summer. As that program phased out, NCOEMS provided programs through EMS Today started offering similar and more advanced classes. Today’s EMS personnel have no idea what is meant by E0-1 through E0-6. They are only familiar with EMT Basic, Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate and Paramedic.
The twins taught Standard and Advanced First Aid with the Red Cross in 1972. They started working at Wayne Memorial Hospital in the Emergency Room in 1970. The opportunity then came for employment as Crew Chiefs at Lenoir Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Service in 1973. They entered the EMT Program at Lenoir Community College in late 1973 while continuing to volunteer with Goldsboro Volunteer Rescue Squad and teach First Aid classes. They began teaching in the EMT Program two nights each week at Wayne Community College in the summer of 1974 and continued until 2013.
They remained employed at Lenoir Memorial Hospital until 1989, at which time, they returned to Wayne County to work with the City of Goldsboro Fire and Rescue. Albert came back as a supervisor and Allen to the rescue truck. Throughout their career they continued their education and acquired many certifications. One such certification is through the North Carolina Sheriff’s Education and Training Standards Commission as Full Limited Lecturers and Level One Instructors; which permits them to teach Medical Care in the Jail and CPR and First Aid in the Detention Centers. They are also certified as American Heart instructors of BLS, First Aid, AED, PALS, and Blood Borne Pathogens. They teach First Responder to the Basic Law students at WCC and other eastern North Carolina community colleges. They have also lectured in the EMS field in several community colleges in eastern North Carolina and assist with proctoring state tests for North Carolina Office of Emergency Services.
The City of Goldsboro Rescue Service merged with Wayne County EMS in October 2002 and rescue personnel transferred to Wayne County EMS forming a countywide EMS system. Two more stations were added making a total of nine stations in the county.
Over the past 44 years, Allen and Albert have seen many changes in the EMS System. Changes to complete call reports range from forms on one half sheet of paper to full sheets and now the use of computers and tablets.
A big change in patient care took place in the 70s, when programs like Emergency, a television show that aired from 1972 to 1979. They showed what properly trained EMT Paramedics could do in the field. Some volunteer rescue squads disliked the new EMT program because of the long hours for the EMT course, prior to the new program they only had to learn First Aid. Also, because many of the calls were in rural areas and farmers and other volunteers had to leave their jobs to respond to emergency calls, this would take much time away from their workday.
“We have also seen changes in the levels of certification from ambulance attendant to first responders, to EMT Basic, to EMT Intermediate, to EMT Advanced Intermediate to Paramedic,” says Allen. “Some volunteer squads had mobile intensive care nurses to assist with out of county transports to higher care institutions. And now EMT-Paramedics or Critical Care Medics make these transports with more advanced equipment.”
“When we began as EMS personnel, we used the Emerson minuteman resuscitators and now we have C-Pap, intubation and other positive pressure devices,” said Albert. “Forty-four years ago EMS personnel could only dream of intraosseous infusion and other drugs now used in the field. All of this means a better quality patient care. We are taking this quality care to the patient in the living room or the scene of the injury, and not just taking them on a high-speed trip to the hospital emergency room. At that time we were doing more holding on than patient care. Dress code has changed from white coveralls to class A uniforms.”
Looking at EMS from the safety aspect, once upon a time everyone was glad to see EMS personnel in their time of need. With all the change that has occurred, some things have been negative. In some areas EMS personnel have to wear bulletproof vests for their own protection when responding to calls or be accompanied by law enforcement.
“Some EMS personnel experience burnout,” says Allen. “And yes, we see some awful things sometimes, but we learned many years ago that you have to take time out for yourself. And for those who need it counseling, make use of the Employee Assistance Program. In providing emergency care the goal is to try to save everyone, but in reality, that’s impossible. Sometimes it’s gone beyond our expertise; you have to learn how to let it go. A higher power finalizes some decisions and there’s nothing we can do about that.”
Why have they been doing this so long?
“When you love what you do, it’s not really a job,” explains Albert. “We’ve spent 44 years and eight months doing what we love and living our dream. We’re thankful for having had such an opportunity to serve so many; whether CPR, First Aid and EMT training or serving as the last hope for so many that were sick or injured. We firmly believe we have treated the sick and injured the way we would like to see our family or ourselves treated.”
Albert’s present job is C Shift Supervisor/QRV Medic and Allen’s present job is QRV Medic/B Shift Assistant Supervisor. Their plan is to retire at the end of 2016, when they will have completed 45 years in EMS service, living their dream.