He’s On a Mission to Help His Neighbors — and Other Volunteers — Stay Healthy
Meet South Branch Emergency Services Volunteer EMT Bill Paranto
Bill Paranto, a physical therapist who works for a home health agency, was making what was supposed to be a routine visit to a patient’s home. It was anything but.
“I walked in on someone having a grand mal seizure,” remembers the High Bridge resident. “I called 911 and EMTs and paramedics came to help. The experience left me wanting to learn more, so I could help somebody if an emergency like that ever happened again.”
Learning More Ways to Make a Difference
Bill, 34, has been a volunteer EMT with South Branch Emergency Services since Spring 2021. The emergency medical skills he has learned at South Branch have given him more ways to help his physical therapy patients in the event of an emergency. And his physical therapy skills have also helped him assist the patients he meets on SBES calls as well as other SBES team members and other first responders.
“Frequently, we respond to calls where an older person has fallen and injured themself,” he said. “I am able to use my PT background to give them and their families advice on ways that they can prevent those situations from happening.” Bill will look for the cause – such as an unsteady gait, difficulty getting from a standing to a sitting position, or trouble keeping balance – and suggest simple, environmental solutions, such as using a rolling walker, a toilet seat riser, or a shower chair. “Families are often glad to learn about these simple options that could literally save someone’s life,” he said.
Helping the Helpers
Bill has recently assumed the role of Rehabilitation Team Leader at SBES where he uses his background to help fellow EMTs and other first responders stay healthy, so they can continue helping others more safely and effectively.
This might include ensuring that first responders on a scene stay hydrated and fed or avoid weather-related health issues, such as heat stroke. And it means being on the lookout for signs of injury to prevent them from getting worse. “I do this already as a physical therapist, which is why I applied for this position,” he said. “It was a way I could use my skill set to serve.”
Contributing to His Community
Bill continues to seek new skills. He is currently working toward rescue certification, which will enable him to assist on calls involving car accidents, water rescue, and more.
Volunteering with SBES allows him to be part of a team and also makes him feel like he’s part of the community, Bill said. “We’re all one big tribe, one big community, and we have to take care of each other,” he said. “It’s nice to know there are so many SBES members who are dedicated to helping people, and it is fun and rewarding to be part of that.”
-- If helping your Hunterdon County neighbors while learning new skills and forging new friendships appeals to you, reach out to learn more! Fill out a contact form and read more about the many volunteer opportunities SBES offers at sbes365.org. No experience is necessary and training is free for members.