What do you do on most Wednesday nights? If you're one of 24 volunteers for the Shelley-Firth Quick Response Unit, you're attending a weekly training to learn how to save lives. You're doing it on your own time for no pay.
"We are all volunteers,” said Chief Philip Ashcraft. “Every one of us. We have our day jobs and volunteer when we can.” These men and women save lives. If it weren't for them, folks in Bingham County between Blackfoot and Idaho Falls would call 911 for an ambulance and wait.
"We're there in five minutes when someone calls 911,” said Ashcraft. “The ambulance from Idaho Falls takes 15 minutes. In a critical situation -- someone bleeding, heart attack -- those minutes matter a lot. So having oxygen, compression, CPR right now improves the chances of survival for Shelley and Firth.”
Ashcraft said these volunteers take 180 hours of initial training. Then they continue to train every week, constantly learning new and better ways of stabilizing a patient so when the ambulance from Blackfoot or Idaho Falls arrives, the patient is ready to transport. These are valuable minutes that can save lives.
They volunteer for many reasons.
"My life was saved once by a quick response unit, so I've always wanted to help,” said Steve Owens, who has been a volunteer for one month.
Owens actually moved to Shelley so he could volunteer. It's a passion.
"We love this job,” Ashcraft said. “We love serving the community."
Ashcraft said the unit is always looking for more volunteers.
If you can handle stress, stay cool under pressure and are willing to give up a lot of your own time, consider becoming a QRU volunteer – and a Great Neighbor.
The Shelley-Firth QRU volunteers are hosting a pancake breakfast Saturday – Spud Day – from 7 to 10:30 a.m. at the Shelley Senior Center. This is the only fundraiser they have all year, and it's your chance to be a Great Neighbor back to them.