Volunteer EMT finds it rewarding

Lowell resident Jill Treadway keeps her dance card full when it comes to local volunteerism.

The registered nurse splits her time volunteering as an EMT-Intermediate and a firefighter for not one, not two, but three area fire departments.

She also serves as a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team, which helps first responders cope with the emotions and trauma that can come with responding to a particularly overwhelming scenario.

For the past three years she has also been elected by her peers to serve as a lieutenant for Salem Township Volunteer Fire Department, an honor never previously held by a woman.

While the accolades are appreciated, it’s not what keeps Treadway at it.

“People are very vulnerable when they call for a squad and we see people at their worst. Everyone at some point needs assistance in their journey through life,” noted Treadway.

Question: What are your volunteer efforts?

Answer: I volunteer on three local fire departments. I’ve been on Salem for eight years. I live in Salem Township though my address is Lowell. I’ve been volunteering in Lowell (for the Lowell-Adams Fire and Rescue) for five years. I also work part-time at Reno (Volunteer Fire Department) so I’m also a volunteer member there as well. If there’s a fire or something I typically respond. I’ve been there three years.

Q: What made you want to be a volunteer EMT?

A: Volunteering allows me to step out of myself and away from my own problems and issues. It keeps my mind acute and I find it very rewarding.

Q: What kind of training did it take?

A: I’m actually a Registered Nurse. I’ve been in nursing for 20 years. It did take additional training. I’m an intermediate EMT, which is more advanced than a basic. I have the ability to administer medication and be a little bit more hands-on in back of the squad. It took six months for my basic and six months for my intermediate and I’m also a certified fireman, level-one.

Q: How much time do you spend volunteering in a typical week?

A: It certainly varies. Some weeks are really, really busy. Other weeks are pretty slow. On average, probably eight hours a week.

Q: What are some of the more frequent calls you receive?

A: This time of year we see a lot of fall injuries because of the ice. We also see a lot of chest pain because people get out and start shoveling snow and they’re not used to physical activity. In the summertime, you get heat exhaustion, dehydration, shortness of breath. And you’re always going to have your allergic reactions.

Q: What is your most memorable day as an EMT?

A: I’ve been privileged to receive EMT of the year twice. It’s a departmental award (at Salem) awarded by whomever is squad chief at the time. I honestly was ready to take a picture of whoever went up and got the award and then they called my name. I also got firefighter of the year in 2012.

Q: What is the hardest part of what you do?

A: Runs that involve children and fatalities.

Q: What’s the best part of the work?

A: The real reward is knowing good was accomplished and knowing someone’s life might be a little better at the end of the day because of what we did as a team. I think the Bible clearly says in Acts 20:35: “It’s more blessed to give than receive.” Sometimes we see the world with blinders and it’s kind of helped me see the needs of others.

Q: What are you doing when you’re not volunteering as an EMT?

A: I work as a home health nurse, and I enjoy hunting and being with my family-my 15-year old daughter Josie, my 13-year-old son Gage, and my husband Randy. My husband is an EMT-I and a firefighter also.

Q: Do you get to volunteer together?

A: We do. We actually share the same on-call night. We’re typically assigned a specific night through the week as a volunteer. We prepare for that. I make sure we have nothing planned. Sometimes just having a spouse that can understand when you’ve been on a bad run…it gives you someone to bounce your feelings off of and is empathetic to your feelings.

Interview conducted by Jasmine Rogers.