Meet a dedicated member of your blacksburg volunteer rescue squad lifestyles infection after tooth extraction symptoms

Their comradery helps them face the daily realities of the job. When someone calls 911, dispatch notifies them and they take an ambulance there with the resources for care they think will be needed. When they arrive, they identify the problem, treat injuries and decide whether or not the patient may need to go to the hospital.

“We see a fair amount of car accidents, especially with all the construction going on here lately. We see a lot of college students downtown, on the weekends at night — alcohol intoxication. We see common symptoms of asthma attacks, strokes, heart attacks, allergic reactions — things like that,” Gay said.

She started her volunteering at age 17, while she was still at Blacksburg High School. She joined the junior squad that only requires that a volunteer be 16 years old and have CPR and first-aid certifications.

Growing up, her mom worked at the rescue squad and Gay loved hearing her work stories.

“I was always curious — and then I thought, maybe I wanted to do something medical with my career,” Gay said. “I didn’t know if I could handle the blood without passing out, so I figured that this was a good way to figure that out … go on some rescue calls, dive right in and see if I could handle it or not. It turns out I could. I got addicted to running calls and helping people, and I’ve loved it ever since.”

“It was nerve-wracking at first. I remember on my first call I was actually really nervous. An elderly lady had fallen down her porch steps outside, and so she was injured from that. We had to put her on a backboard since she had a head injury, and several scrapes and bruises. We took her to the hospital and she ended up being OK.”

“We used to be pretty much just strictly EMS. Now, we have joined forces with the search and rescue team. There’s a cave rescue team, we have swiftwater rescue and we have a special operations division that does high-rise structural rescue, like if someone’s stuck on an electrical tower,” Gay said.

Rescue squad members at times are like unappreciated guardian angels for downtown’s rowdiest. Gay said that sometimes they get to students who are completely passed out cold. Most of the time they’re obligated to take them to the emergency room because if they leave and something were to happen to them, the rescue squad would be liable.

However, sometimes it’s the opposite. Gay said that sometimes they get the “my friend is too drunk” call, and when they get there, the person in question is intoxicated, but walking and talking. It presents a tough situation because they appear fine but may not be able to make great decisions.

“It’s a gray area, and most times they don’t want to go to the hospital. It can be trying if they’re argumentative and intoxicated, but you know that they’re not in their right mind — we’ve all probably been there and done that at some point in our lives. We want to do what’s in their best interest,” Gay said. “Either they decide to let us take them to the hospital to sober up and prevent falling asleep and aspirating, or we leave them be if they’re oriented enough to make decisions and they’re with someone sober who can watch them.”

They also send a crash truck (which Gay describes as looking like a fire truck) that has all of the extraction equipment, such as the jaws of life and seatbelt cutters that are able to aid in getting people out of cars when they might be stuck. The crash truck is also there to block the crash off from other traffic.

“If they appear stable with OK vital signs, we can take our time and determine what’s necessary,” Gay said. “If they’re unstable or unresponsive, we’ll do a rapid extrication, where you do whatever it takes to get access to that patient. We remove them from the vehicle as quickly and safely as possible … Then we place them on a stretcher, put them in the ambulance and make any interventions if necessary.”