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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeCommentaryOpen forumOpen forum: To the Rescue

Open forum: To the Rescue

Bob Malacarne, NR-EMT

Greetings to all our friends and neighbors. COVID 19 has certainly changed our lives, and it looks like we will be in COVID mode for quite a while longer.

St. John Rescue responders are fortunate to have access to a sufficient supply of PPEs. We have been working with VITEMA to make sure that our responders are well equipped to stay safe during an emergency.

During the past two months, St. John Rescue members have responded to several calls for assistance. As you may know, we respond to emergencies on land as well as on the open waters around St. John. We support the National Park whenever there is a person experiencing a medical emergency on any of the National Park trails as well as on the North Shore beaches.

We have always been trained to wear proper PPEs when responding to emergencies and have been very fortunate so far that none of our responders have contracted COVID-19.

We are grateful for the Department of Health for offering free COVID testing each Wednesday at the gravel lot. I have been tested five times since December. Each test coming back negative. Rescue members have also been receiving vaccinations at Island Health and Wellness Center. Thank you to Sandy for offering this service.

Please take the COVID threat seriously. Wear a mask whenever you are out in public and maintain social distancing. Keep some antiseptic wipes or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you at all times. If we all work together, we can greatly reduce the threat of contracting COVID-19.

St. John Rescue is offering an Emergency Medical Responder course starting on March 1.  During the first month, all classes will be online. Once the online portion is completed, classes will be held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and on Saturdays from April 26 until May 9. Students who successfully complete this course will qualify to take the National Registry written test. That will qualify you to be a Nationally Certified Emergency Medical Responder. There will be a nominal fee of $250 for this course to cover the cost of a book and supplies. It will also qualify you to take a BRIDGE course to become a Nationally Certified EMT.

If you are interested in taking this course, please contact St John Rescue at 340-693-7377 for more information.

In addition, St John Rescue is still offering CPR classes to the public. Currently, we are offering a blended class. This consists of an online class and an in-person testing session once the online segment is completed. Please call our office at 340-693-7377 for more information or to sign up for any of our courses.

CPR saves lives. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women regardless of race or ethnic group.

Here are some heart health facts:

  • One person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease
  • About 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year
  • About 11 percent of American adults have been diagnosed with heart disease

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, such as exercising regularly, eating a heart-healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Being able to administer CPR gives you the opportunity to help someone who is experiencing a heart attack and save their life.

Each month we will be introducing you to one of our responding members. St. John Rescue is a community-based organization. It is important that the community we serve gets to know the volunteers who respond to emergencies on St John. This month we are featuring Dr. Gerald Goveia.

Jerry grew up in Eason Massachusetts. He received his BA from Boston University and his D.M.D. from Tufts University. Thereafter, he completed five years of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency at the University of Missouri. He entered private practice and was on staff at Good Samaritan Medical Center and Brockton Hospital Signature Healthcare in Brockton, Massachusetts. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Jerry came to St. John like so many others – on a cruise. When he stepped off the ferry and took one step onto the dock he said to his wife, Brenda, “This is where I want to be.”  They have not been anywhere else since, and during his second visit here, he and Brenda started looking for a place they could call home.

Jerry joined St. John Rescue upon his retirement. He said he was aware of all the good work it had done after the hurricanes and he wanted to be a part of it. He said when he researched what was required of a volunteer, he learned that the organization was full of past and present dedicated members who devoted their time helping out the community in a variety of ways. He was impressed that some members have been involved with St. John Rescue since its inception over 20 years ago.

St. John Rescue responds to aid EMS, Fire, Police and National Park. Rescue also provides CPR, First Aid and EMR courses and is working on a plan to place AEDs in strategic places around the island. Volunteers help out by providing services at various events such as “8 TUFF MILES,” the triathlon, paddleboard event, concerts and any other event that requires a medical person to be in attendance.

Jerry decided that joining St. John Rescue was a good way of giving back to the community because his medical skills and his certification in rescue diving matched the duties of a St. John Rescue responder.

Jerry feels fortunate to be able to help the community, and St. John Rescue is fortunate to have a person with Jerry’s skills and ambition as part of our team.

Until next month, please stay safe.

Bob Malacarne NR-EMT, St. John Rescue

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