They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and a live demonstration of how an emergency medical service volunteer, or professional, would stop the bleeding on a shooting victim, was a clarion call to those interested in learning more about volunteering. The eye-catching display served as a focal point to pique visitors’ curiosity about the emergency skills they would learn, which could heroically save a life. This was one of the highlights of the first, of what is expected to be many, Emergency Medical Services Tri-Hamlet open houses. It was held on Sunday, Sept. 18, in the parking lot of the shopping center located at 855 Montauk Highway in Shirley. The event’s main objective was to recruit adolescent and adult volunteers in the Mastic, Mastic Beach, and Shirley area. From 4 to 8 p.m., members of the community were invited to stop down and learn more about the trifecta of neighboring ambulance companies, which fall under the umbrella of the Tri-Hamlet recruiting committee.
“We’re just down here today with some different tables, with some demonstrations going on, trying to get some more members from the community,” said Jennifer Lian, assistant chief at Mastic Ambulance. She conceded that the turnout was a little less than they had hoped for, but it wasn’t a bad start, considering they had less than two weeks to plan this initial attempt. “With the short notice, it was nice just to have everybody up here. We had some people walk up, so we’re going to plan one in a few months again. It’s going to be in May.”
The next event, with the exact date to be determined, will be held at Smith Point Beach in Shirley, in the spring. James Deutcsh, chief of operations and a paramedic at the Shirley Community Ambulance, was leading a demonstration, as a striking case of what someone might have to handle as an EMS.
“This would be, for example, if someone had a gunshot wound. You have to be able to pack the wounds, so that they don’t bleed out before you get them to the hospital, because you have a certain amount of time to apply pressure,” said Lian of the simulated situation featuring an uncanny display using “fake Halloween vampire blood” for an experience that was an authentic, makeshift replica, without being too graphic. “We do a lot of trainings like this,” Lian added.
People came by the display table throughout the event and Deutcsh educated attendees with basic facts, such as the difference between an artery and a vein.
“Arteries are coming right from the heart,” he informed onlookers, who then learned how to stop the bleeding by using gauze and applying pressure. “That’s your main line from your heart down to where it needs to go.”
Then, he demonstrated the basic steps to take on a flesh-like model, which was supposed to be a leg with a femoral artery. “
“This is going to restrict the artery from letting the blood flow through. Now, it’s not going to stop it completely, but it’s going to assist with that. Right after that, you’re going to take it, and pack it. There’s open space in here. We want it filled,” Deutcsh explained with clarity, so that anyone who stopped down might be a little better equipped to handle an emergency, whether they end up volunteering as an EMS or not.
A volunteer with the Mastic EMS, Joe Zarcone, deemed the event a success.
“Getting the community involved, and getting more members is great. It’s a great organization. [It provides] a lot of training, great camaraderie. It’s like a giant family. Every night, if they’re needed, Mastic is here to help,” Zarcone added.