First Responders Update

By Kelly Gordon -
President, First Responders

We recently had a call to the home of one of our very own Skidaway Island First Responders. It was almost 11 p.m. when I saw the alert come out for her address. I jumped up as quickly as I could, wearing only my pajamas and flip flops, and drove straight to her home.

We are like family. We know each other’s spouses, kids, animals, hobbies, interests, and everything else in between. We care deeply for one another and have forged lifetime friendships that bring so much joy to our lives. When one of our own needs us, we do whatever we can to render aid and offer support until the ambulance arrives.

When she followed up with me after her scary medical event, she said, “You know, being in a terrifying situation like I was, not knowing what was happening, and having our team there, was one of the most eye-opening experiences. It made me realize how lucky I am to live on this island and have people like us responding to medical calls. It put so much into perspective about what we bring to this island. I’ve never been on the receiving end of what we actually do, and it made me so proud to be a part of this organization.”

I have to agree with my friend and colleague. The Skidaway Island First Responders take what we do very seriously. We ALL ARE VOLUNTEERS, and sometimes that gets lost in translation. There are 16 of us, and a handful of us work full time. We respond to calls whenever we are available. We get simultaneous calls, and if we are short-staffed, we can only be spread so far.

Sometimes there only are a couple of us on the island, and other times, there might be a handful. Calls occur all day and night, and we do what we can. Please be patient with us. I ask that you don’t forget we are VOLUNTEERS and your neighbors, too. Be kind to us when we come to help, and please remember we should never be punching bags for you or your family members when we arrive to help.

That leads me to a very important topic I must address. WE NEED FIRST RESPONDERS!! We are looking for people who want to give back to the community. You do not need any medical experience to become a Skidaway Island First Responder. The course is taught by one of the Paramedics who work on Skidaway Island. It is a 40-hour course, and we hope to offer our next class no later than July of this year.

We have a pretty rigorous interview process and must ensure that everyone interested is aware of the commitment and time it takes to be an Emergency Medical Responder. We work 24/7 and are required to have night duty several times a month. Whether you are playing golf, riding your bike, at dinner with friends at one of the clubs, playing tennis or pickleball, or even sleeping, you must be willing to do your best to respond to all calls on the island.

This community needs us, and WE need help. If you’re interested in becoming a SIFR and want to hear more about our team and what we do, please contact our recruitment coordinator, Dave Canham ( or 912-598-8814).

Thank you to EVERYONE who has reached out with a nice handwritten thank you note, email, call, donation, and just overall support. It means more than you know. The past two years have been extremely stressful for all working EMS. Your patience, kindness, understanding, and appreciation make us truly feel like what we do really matters and makes a difference.

In closing, on behalf of my entire team, WE thank ALL of Chatham Emergency Services’ paid personnel who work on and off our island. We SEE you. We know how hard you work for our community and the surrounding area. We ALWAYS will have your back and assist you however and whenever we can.

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

Visit to read the original article.