First Responders Update

By Kelly Gordon -
President, First Responders

The Skidaway Island First Responders (SIFR) are a team of 22 VOLUNTEERS. We work 24/7/365 unless we have to evacuate for a hurricane. We even have a few First Responders who have shown up to EMS calls on their bicycles, in golf carts, and sometimes on foot, if they’re walking and a call occurs close to their location. We are here for this community. And we will get there however we can.

There are many occasions when we get EMS calls simultaneously or within minutes of each other. Over the past week or so, we have had this happen. We do our best to make sure we respond to every call. Below are some examples, so the community knows the exact times we were paged on four separate days that EMS calls dropped.

  • 10:26:15 a.m. and 10:26:43 a.m.
  • 9:27:47 a.m. and 9:35:17 a.m.
  • 10:08:28 a.m. 10:23:24 a.m.
  • 7:31:23 p.m. and 7:38:21 p.m.

As you can see above, page times are often within seconds and minutes of one another. This leads me to a topic I continue to discuss that seems to fall on deaf ears. If you call EMS for something non-emergent with no intention to take an ambulance, it falls under EMS abuse. If we are with you to check your blood pressure, move you to a different room, or act as your Primary Care Physician, we can’t simultaneously care for someone in an actual medical crisis.

 When we are paged for an EMS call, so is the on-island Chatham Emergency Services Paramedic (a different entity than the SIFR) and the off-island CES ambulance crew. As we are all aware, there is a NATIONAL shortage of ambulances. If an ambulance is headed here for an EMS call and arrives on scene to find they were never actually needed, that takes them away from what could potentially be someone in a dire medical emergency. That’s abuse.

I’m not sure when or how people started using EMS as home health care, their primary care doctor, or for something completely non-emergent, but it’s a huge problem. As mentioned in my October Landings Journal article, Chatham Emergency Services charges $200 for a home health lift assist without injury. Please be mindful that you are taking the on-island Paramedic away from a real emergency when you call EMS unnecessarily.

People ask me ALL the time why a fire truck shows up on medical calls. As a reminder, the firetruck is just like an ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulance. The firetruck is stocked with everything an ALS ambulance has, and the CES Paramedic stationed on our island can perform those same tasks to render aid. If the Paramedic is busy moving you to a different room or looking at a bruise on your arm, they can’t leave to perform lifesaving acts to save someone in cardiac arrest.

Please stop confusing our group with the personnel with Chatham Emergency Services. We work together with their on-island Paramedics and the off-island ambulance crews. That being said, we are two separate entities. On those same lines, I’ve received more than a dozen calls this year on my personal cell phone from people who want EMS to come to them. Please only use 912-355-6688 for EMS.

As we get closer to Thanksgiving and the holiday season, people will be having and attending parties. Drink responsibly, and don’t forget a golf cart is a vehicle and shouldn’t be driven while drinking. If you are hosting a party, please make sure you provide safe rides home for your guests.

Lastly, thank you to each of you who have sent cards, emails, texts, and donations to the SIFR. We get so much wonderful and kind feedback thanking us for what we do. The kindness and support are most encouraging and always cancel out the negativity and critics’ voices. I’ve always said it takes a village, and until you need us and see what we do, you can’t complain about a firetruck or someone behind you with a white flashing light. We are a very lucky community!

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

Visit to read the original article.