In a typical career benefits list, you might expect to see things like great hours or stress-free environment. But let's be honest - we know these things don't describe life as an EMS provider.
You work long shifts, includings nights and holidays away from your family. You deal with stressful situations, and are forced to make split-second, life-changing decisions.
We asked why you do it. You answered.
We learned it's not about the money. It's not about the flexibility. It's about changing lives.
Below, you will find five reasons why your brothers and sisters in EMS do what they do.
King George Dept. of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services
King George, VA
I have been a volunteer for two years, and I have multiple generations of EMS in the family. I followed after tradition and joined the local department at 16. At first I wondered why I did it. It seemed like the only thing we saw were people who were hurting. Then I started to get those calls. The ones from family members or patients who I saved (whether emotionally or physically). I started understanding more, but not quite fully. Then a few months ago, I was driving down the road and my truck axle snapped. I rolled 4-5 times. I crawled out of my totaled truck, and a bystander had called 911. When the ambulance arrived, it was two providers I have run with many times in the past. That day, I realized what EMS does. We are there for more than life threats. We help patients with their mental health. Ever since I was the patient and not the provider, I have a completely different view and understanding. I love running every call now. Even the 3am calls. I put in all the time I can at the firehouse, and I try to make a difference every time I'm there. I want the community to feel safer knowing that there are dedicated providers there for them in a time of need. That's what makes it worth it for me.
After leaving a six-figure income job behind due to re-organization, I chose EMS as my second career. I was tired of chasing the dollar, and felt that I should give something back for all the years I was successful. I've had the opportunity to sing with Hospice patients on the way to Hospice, pray with families when a loved one is in their last moments and put a child's mind at ease by talking to him on his level while treating him for injuries or illness. You cannot put a dollar amount on helping these people in their worst possible time. Just trying to set their mind at ease and helping them feel better during their moment of need has no price tag! Best job I've ever had!
LA City Fire Dept.
There's no way to explain in words the great feeling you get helping others in need, and making even a slight positive change in their life. This great feeling stays with you for the rest of your life.
Hebron Ambulance and Sanford AirMed
I got started because of a neighbor's farm accident. I kept thinking, what if this was my family? I need to know how to take care of people in these situations. We lived one hour from the nearest hospital. People shouldn't have to die, just because they live in rural ND. So I made it my mission to learn. My work is now as Flight Nurse, but I volunteer my free time on rural ND ambulances. After over 25 years, I now teach others how to do the same thing. I have lots of experience, and my goal is to share and teach so others can continue the work of bringing quality emergency care to those in rural areas. In April, I was honored by being named the ND EMS Provider of the Year! EMS is my passion!
Elite Industrial Services
It seemed that I was always coming up on accidents, traumas and medical events, and wanted to be able to do something about it. I thought nursing was the way to go, but it wasn't for me. I needed to be in the field where I could be more useful. Not everyone can handle the adrenaline and drama on the street and then shake it off and go home.... then go out and do it again the next day. I took what I learned and went into industrial rescue and took on a whole new level of EMS.... Somebody has to do it.
EMS provider responses have been slightly modified to fit within desired format.