Making CVAC Work
To give you a glimpse into what it takes to make CVAC work, here are just a few of the activities.
What Happens in an Emergency?
While every emergency is different, here are the general steps that happen.
- Someone calls 911. Whether someone has fallen, there has been a car accident, or someone feels ill, there are over 500 calls a year for medical assistance in New Castle.
- The response begins. NCPD normally sends one or more officers to the location and pages CVAC. CVAC members carry radio activated pagers that alert them to the need for the ambulance. Often, NCPD also calls for a paramedic.
- CVAC members who are on-call drop what they are doing, get in their cars, and head to the ambulance. Sometimes, the on-call EMT has taken the fly car home while on-call and drives directly to the location of the emergency.
- Once all responding members are at the ambulance, the ambulance responds to the location of the emergency.
- The EMT, working with the paramedic if one has been dispatched, assess the medical problem. Often NCPD (all officers are Certified First Responders) will have provided the first level of medical assistance / care. Initial emergency care is administered.
- The patient is prepared for transport to the hospital and is placed on the ambulance.
- The ambulance takes the patient, with the EMT and possibly a paramedic continuing pre-hospital care while en-route.
- Once at the hospital, the patient is turned over to the Emergency Room staff.
- The EMT completes paperwork required by the State, the ambulance is cleaned up, and then the ambulance goes backin service.
What It Takes
- Training: All riding members must have training.
- EMT's must take initial training (about 200 hours), must pass a NY State exam, and must take ongoing continuing medical education training and classes.
- Ambulance drivers must take a special emergency vehicle operator training class and must become familiar with the unique requirements for driving an ambulance.
- Aiders and youth corps members must, at a minimum, complete the Professional Rescuer CPR / AED training class, and may also complete the Certified First Responder (CFR) training class.
- Everyone who rides must know where all equipment is stored, from bandages to neck braces to backboards and splints.
- Making sure everyone has proper and current training is a significant job in and of itself.
- Vehicles: New York requires all emergency vehicles to be certified as meeting State standards. Our ambulances, andEMT SUV, must be properly maintained. Every Tuesday, both ambulances and the fly car are checked mechanically, and are inventoried for proper equipment and supplies.
- Communications: Ensuring that all CVAC members, especially those on call, can learn of an emergency and indicate they are respondingtakes a lot of work. In October 2010, CVAC completed a two-year long communications upgrade. Making sure all pagers and that the 2-way radios in the vehicles all work properly is an ongoing task.
- Building: Just like maintaining a house takes effort, keeping up the CVAC headquarters building is an ongoing project.
- Finances: While CVAC is an all-volunteer organization, CVAC has plenty of bills to pay. It takes a lot of time to keep the financial books in order.
Every effort is made to ensure the patient's dignity is protected. CVAC rigorously adheres to HIPAA privacy requirements, so even if your neighbor, in CVAC, was on a call just down the street, your neighbor will not be able to share information about that call with you.