As a child growing up in Raritan Township, Avery often saw FRFARS crews responding with lights and sirens to emergencies around town. While she was always interested in learning more, Avery believed that the level of skill and experience required to be a proficient EMT was unobtainable and out of reach for everyday people like her. Years later, Avery entered Stockton University as a Health Sciences major with a concentration in (and ultimate career goal of) Physician’s Assistant. As being an EMT was an entry requirement for PA programs, she enrolled in an EMT course at Union County College and earned her certification in July 2019. Determined to put her new skills to good use in her hometown, Avery joined the squad in late September 2019.
Within her first few shifts at FRFARS Avery assisted pairs of experienced EMTs as a “third” crew member, responding to numerous emergencies including strokes, breathing difficulties, and even a fall from a roof.
“When I first started, I was very intimidated by the people around me. Everyone was extremely skilled and knowledgeable. It pushed me to work harder,” said Avery.
Before long, Avery grew into one of the Squad’s most active responders, oftentimes finding herself on the Squad’s “Top Callers” list of volunteers who have covered the most hours or answered the most calls each month. In April 2020, Avery gained enough clinical experience to work as part of a two-person crew rather than as an additional “third” crew member in training.
“I was not expecting the family-like atmosphere that I got when I was at the Squad. Everyone has your back, and you can feel it. Everyone helps each other to succeed and pushes each other to be a better provider. At the end of the day, if I was in trouble, I wouldn’t want any other agency responding,” she says.
When reporting in for her first shift, it is safe to say that Avery did not expect to have gained the proficiency, friendships, and experiences that her time with FRFARS has provided so far. As Avery’s journey with FRFARS continues, she has begun to focus on helping newer members learn skills and build confidence while remaining a “Top Caller”. To anyone thinking of joining the squad who might be intimidated or scared, Avery has a simple piece of advice:
“Just do it. Everyone at the station is very helpful through the EMT process. You get out of it as much as you put in. If you put in your all, you can learn great skills and become a great provider while making a difference in your community.”