Volunteering for HV Fire and EMS Units, Bringing Experience, Skills, and Caring to Emergency Medical Care (Part 2 of 4)

Diane Snyder

The Hopewell Valley Senior Services has launched a new volunteer recruitment program linking Baby Boomers with the Valley’s volunteer fire companies and first aid squad.  Part 1 of this series introduced readers to the program. The rest of the series tells the stories of Boomers who are already making a difference as part of these organizations. 

As a member of Pennington First Aid Squad, Diane C.A. Snyder, 59, has helped deliver babies, performed CPR on cardiac patients, and started care for stroke victims as they were rushed to the hospital.

A retired CIA officer who spent time as a medic early in her career and has a pre-med undergraduate degree, Snyder joined Pennington First Aid seven years ago, drawn to the squad by the opportunity to volunteer and pursue New Jersey and National EMT certifications immediately. “I found myself wanting to return to medicine in an uncontrolled environment,” she said.

But, community first-response also involves non-medical care that is just as important, Snyder explained. It sometimes means spending time with a person who fell after assessing he or she does not need additional medical care, and making sure there are no tripping hazards in the home. It means recognizing a call has come from the home of someone with dementia. It means teaching CPR to the Girl Scouts.

With this kind of variety of situations, the maturity and life experience of Baby Boomers is a valuable asset to the squad, she said. “College students may have technical and classroom skills that are very important, but someone in their 50s or 60s has seen more life.”  That balance on the squad is important, Snyder said.

After the CIA, Snyder taught courses on intelligence, national security, and constitutional democracy at Princeton University, a position she left two years ago. She volunteers alongside people from every imaginable profession – all skills are put to use, and needed medical skills are taught in the EMT course and other training.

Why does she keep volunteering?

“It’s a challenge and experience you can’t get anywhere else,” Snyder said. “I feel so much a part of the Pennington community. This sense of connection to this place and everyone in it is so fulfilling, and I can’t imagine another way of building anything quite like it.”

Attention Baby Boomers! Ready for Your Next Adventure?

Boomers, or those of any age interested in volunteering with a Hopewell Valley fire or EMS unit, should visit www.ProtectHopewellValley.com and click on “volunteer,” or call Hopewell Valley Chief of Emergency Services Matthew Martin at 609-537-0287.

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