First Responders Update

By Kelly Gordon -
SIRF President

I try hard not to be redundant when writing the First Responders Update for the Journal. I aim to educate and help the community on EMS and the things that we see and find important.

Since I’ve been approached at least a half a dozen times about some issues I’ve previously written about, I’m going to address the following questions again.

  • Why do we call 912-355-6688 instead of 911?
  • Where do I put my yellow emergency cards?
  • Why is there a fire truck at my house when I called for an ambulance?
  • What happened to my neighbor this past week? I saw you were at her house.
  • Where do you get your funding for your organization

When you call 912-355-6688, you actually are calling Chatham Emergency Services’ dispatch center. They immediately and simultaneously page Skidaway Island First Responders (SIFR), our Paramedic on the island, and the off-island ambulance. If you call 911, they will then call dispatch and give them the information you provided. By calling the number we’ve given you, it skips a step. It is just faster in most cases.

The yellow cards ideally should be on the outside of your refrigerator or the inside door of the refrigerator in a plastic baggy. We also find them on desks in kitchens or sitting out on a counter. As long as we can see/find them, we are happy.

The fire truck is our “ambulance”. It is equipped exactly like an Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance. The only thing our Paramedic can’t do with his vehicle is transport. Chatham Emergency Services has provided an SUV for the same purpose. The reason we don’t always use it is because of the lack of staffing of paid personnel on the island. We care as much as you do about having a big yellow truck and additional vehicles on your street. Our main goal, however, is to provide you with the quickest and best service.

We can’t tell you anything about a neighbor, friend, coworker, construction worker, Club employee, your mail carrier, or anyone else we treat on an EMS call. We follow the same guidelines that your doctor or hospital does, and HIPAA prevents us from sharing any of your information. We hope that is something all of you respect and understand. We aren’t trying to be rude when we don’t respond as we are walking out of a house.

There are a lot of misconceptions about our organization. Skidaway Island First Responders is a nonprofit, volunteer group. We work every day, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (unless we evacuate the island for a storm), and we use money out of our bank account for everything. The generous grant we receive each year from Landlovers, the generous donation from the Mahjong fundraiser, along with the endless gifts we receive from individuals on the islandare how we stay afloat. The yellow cards, stickers, PR items with our phone number on them, our uniforms, supplies, bags, training books, CPR mannequins, CPR classes, our yearly maintenance of lifesaving devices we own, some of our radios and pagers we use to communicate, and anything else we need or use to do our jobs is paid for by us. As of this year, we will have to provide our own insurance for all 24 First Responders, as Chatham Emergency Services no longer can cover our group.

As I’ve stated many times in the past, our entire team is honored to serve such a wonderful community. The outpouring of love and appreciation we receive every single day makes it all worthwhile. Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions or concerns.

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

Visit to read the original article.