Frontline Friday's celebrate GFA alumni on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis — doctors, nurses, essential workers, and all in between. Alumnus Chris Coleman ’95, Assistant Director at Darien’s Emergency Medical Service Post 53, shares how EMS has evolved in the age of coronavirus.
Q: How long have you been in the medical field? Where do you currently work?
A: I started working in EMS in 2010. Right now, I am the Assistant Director at Darien’s Emergency Medical Service, Post 53. I’ve worked in Greenwich, Stamford, and New Haven, but Darien has been my home base for the last 10 years. I’m especially passionate about working at Darien EMS-Post 53 because it’s a volunteer-led service where the majority of our membership is comprised of high school students. It’s what makes Post 53 special. Adult advisors and high school students work hand-in-hand to provide the highest quality of pre-hospital care, so it’s very unique. This year, we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary, meaning that almost a thousand students have passed through our doors and served our community, which is pretty amazing. I get the opportunity to not just practice EMS, but also to act as a mentor to a lot of amazing young people. My role is broad, but officially, I oversee operations and student affairs.
Q: How have things changed since the COVID-19 outbreak? What does a current day look like for you?
A: Along with other EMS operations across the country, we follow very strict guidelines to protect the health and safety of our workers and patients. It’s critical as healthcare workers that we uphold these standards. Our teams are diligent 24/7 to stay on top of the regulations mandated by the state. When we are on duty, we ensure that we social distance and wear the proper PPE and of course, hand washing is critical to stopping the spread of any germs, especially now. We follow very strict protocols to ensure all of our vehicles and equipment are deep cleaned on an ongoing basis.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to the GFA community at this time?
A: Emotions run high during a time like this, so stress management is important. Some stress might be caused by the amount of content. It's important to trust science and not the media. The CDC is a great source for updated and current data.
Q: How do you see your community coming together to support those in your field?
A: The community has been amazing. We have received donations from near and far. Everything from masks to food deliveries to personalized signs created for our crews who are on 24 hours/day. We’re a volunteer organization and we’re not funded by the town, so we are grateful when people contribute whatever they can.
Q: How would you say GFA’s motto Quisque Pro Omnibus, or “Each For All”, embodies what you see on a daily basis?
A: EMS is a team effort. We rely on each other to work collaboratively alongside Police and Fire to make critical decisions as a team that puts the patient first. It’s those decisions that save lives.