By Jenelle Franklin
The Huron Valley Ambulance hosted a fall festival on Saturday Oct. 15 from 1-4 p.m. to at their main campus to celebrate decades in the community.
The community was invited to tour the dispatch center, learn about the different responding units available and enjoy free fall activities.
Joining the HVA was Pittsfield Township Police and Fire Departments, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Humane Society of Huron Valley and CORE radio, along with others who provided free food. Donations were taken in the form of non-perishable canned goods to benefit Food Gatherers.
The outdoor festival had booths of information from HVA’s departments and specialty teams. Education on the different roles and levels of rescue was abundant.
“There are reasons you don’t go into situations you aren’t trained for,” Nikki Rose, a 17 year Paramedic said. Educating the public on the people who arrive to help in crisis and interacting with communities drives her to keep going each day.
On a call to Dexter in 2012, Rose was part of a recovery team that was sent in to check the safety of the structures that were still left standing after a tornado ripped through the southeastern Michigan community.
“It was remarkable because we were able to rescue a lot and be really involved with the community,” Rose said.
HVA recruits high school students from around Michigan each year to help with the transition to other fields of study, and general turnover.
“I have gone to 10 high schools already this school year, and have about a dozen more left,” Oren Jackson HVA recruiter said. “We need to keep new kids coming into the program each year.”
HVA offers benefits of a 10 percent tuition reimbursement and a $3,000 relocation budget to their employees, according to Jackson.
“We have around 700 employees, 500 on the road and a turnover of around a hundred per year,” Jackson said.
HVA specialist responders like Joe Hahn train each month to relearn vital information.
“These skills we have are perishable, and we need continuous training,” Hahn said.
Interactive information about human CPR was available, with hand-only demonstrations on manikins. Pet CPR details were shared, along with a stuffed dog demonstration. Safety information for the fall holidays relating to food was represented by The Teal Pumpkin Project.
The HVA had a teal painted pumpkin at the entrance table of the fall festival to educate on the meaning of the bright colored pumpkins to be seen on porches this fall.
The project is a warning about allergies and food sensitivities during Halloween time. A teal pumpkin is placed at the front of a home to signal that non-food treats are available, according to the project’s FAQ page.