She Uses Skills Acquired as a Teacher to Help Patients & Guide Young Volunteers
Meet South Branch Emergency Services EMT Melanie Sloyer
Melanie Sloyer was 17 the day her cousin and other volunteer EMTs came to her high school to talk with students about joining the ambulance squad.
They would have so much time to spend together if she joined, her cousin told her that day in 2008. “I ran two calls with him as an observer, and that was it. I was hooked!” Melanie remembers.
She joined High Bridge Emergency Squad – one of the two squads that merged to form South Branch Emergency Services – and became a volunteer EMT at age 18. In the years since, Melanie has become a special education teacher at Holland Township School, a deacon who is in charge of the children’s programs at Lebanon Reformed Church, wife to Derrick and son to 7-month-old Wesley.
But Melanie still finds time to serve her community with her squad: She was one of the leaders guiding the merger of High Bridge and Clinton First Aid & Rescue. She’s now SBES’s vice president. And Melanie leads the cadet program, where she works with SBES’s youngest volunteers - people as young as she was when she first joined.
“Right now, my motivation is our cadet program,” she said. “I love it because teens are truly exploring what EMS (emergency medical service) is. I hope I can help them have a positive experience and maybe be the segue that leads them to become an EMT, like others did for me.”
The SBES Juniors Program provides a path for interested 16- and 17-year-olds to learn about emergency medical care and prepare to take the EMT class and test, which are offered right at SBES’s training facility. Melanie makes sure that in addition to CPR, first aid, problem-solving and time management, the cadets learn how to make patients comfortable, including those who are differently- abled or have a special needs.
“If a child is non-verbal, for example, they may not be able to use words to tell us how they are feeling or what has happened, but as EMTs, we need to obtain that kind of information,” she said. “I talked to them about finding other ways to communicate, such as drawing pictures, using sign language, even typing on a phone.”
Melanie has used these same skills on calls. “Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking other people at the scene if a person who is non-verbal has a communication board – a board with pictures they can point to to use to communicate,” Melanie said.
Using the skills she has acquired through her work as a teacher to help other people when they need her most is a wonderful feeling, she said. “I have found my niche and my space at SBES using my skill set.”
Want to use your unique skills to make a difference in your community? Whatever your talents and interests, there’s an emergency or non-emergency role waiting for you at South Branch Emergency Services. Sign up, learn more, or ask a question at SBES365.org