Who is an Emergency Responder?

By Jared Baroni, Southwest Health EMT

My life before…

I invested a substantial amount of time and had to make sacrifices, but now looking back I am glad I did. I cannot imagine having another career outside of emergency medicine.

I began my career as an emergency responder after being constantly unfulfilled by a career in professional sales. I was skilled but always found myself needing other people to perform my job, and it was all about the “almighty dollar.”

I had always had a fascination with Fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) as a child, but baseball led me to different avenues, playing baseball at the university level at UW-Platteville and going on to complete a bachelor’s degree at Fresno State.

I felt that both age and having a family would not mix well with trying to go back and start over, but it ends up that it was perfect after working in the professional business world for several years.

I attended Waukesha County Technical College after being accepted to the Menomonee Falls Fire Department, which is a suburb of Milwaukee. I still had my sales job and attended night classes for a year to be fully certified as a Firefighter/EMT (Emergency Medical Technician).

You know how I said that I always found myself needing others? I was ready for a career where I was needed every time I was called to duty, and a career in emergency medicine had all I needed. I always admired the emergency response personnel growing up and always thought, “I wonder what they are going to?” Now that I hold the position and responsibility of an EMT, I am blessed that I have the privilege to respond and care for people in need.

…and my life now

There are few people who haven’t themselves needed an ambulance or been to an ER. If they haven’t, they know someone who has. Both are staffed by emergency responders. When an emergency responder is involved, it typically includes crisis to some degree. There is a weight of responsibility of those who respond to these emergencies, and unsuccessful outcomes can be taken personally and have an emotional toll.

When I am on a critical call, I feel like I am in the “zone.” I feel like time around me sort of stops. I am hyper-focused on utilizing the knowledge and experience I have to collaborate with my team, making care decisions that maximize the chances of a positive patient outcome.

There are calls that I am emotionally attached to, but in the moment there is not time for that, I need to stay focused only on working towards a positive outcome. It takes a special breed of person to feel what others feel and to perform under substantial amounts of pressure, those of life and death.

I feel like my experiences have evolved because I look at patient care through a new scope. Prior to working at Southwest Health, I was only able to operate with EMT-Basics and AEMTs (Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians).

Being part of the Paramedic-level service at Southwest Health while also attending Nursing School gives me the opportunity to think at a more advanced level. I can only do the interventions of my scope, but to be able to have real life clinical experience is priceless, and I believe it will help me substantially to be a solid provider in the future.

I have now worked at Southwest Health EMS for almost a year and a half. Throughout my time here, I have been thoroughly impressed with the level of compassion and competence of my colleagues in both EMS and the ER. The staff and providers at Southwest Health ER and EMS have the patient’s successful outcome at our forefront at all times and are happy to serve the residents of southwest Wisconsin. Please continue to trust us to keep you healthy, southwest Wisconsin!

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