Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Aid Volunteer Works To Help The Community

Child Passenger Safety Instructor and member of the Chester First Aid Squad, Jackie Leach, will soon be helping to launch a new program in Spring 2009 focused on putting an end to teen driving fatalities in the area.

Her reason?

“Police officers and fire fighters were tired of pulling these teens out of accidents,” Leach says, “We want these teens to know that it’s not just them [who suffer] because of a stupid mistake, but the entire community.”

Safety is the name of the game for Leach, who co-founded the Chester Emergency Services Coalition, which started small in 2006 but is now made up of the first aid squad, fire department, ladies' auxiliary and the borough and township police departments. Its purpose, besides sponsoring social activities for members, is to keep people informed before accidents can actually occur. Just recently, the coalition gave people the opportunity to stop in to their First Aid Squad 100 North Side Road site, to see if their child seats were properly installed on January 12-15 for free. The First Aid Squad will continue to do this from 2 to 6 pm on every first Tuesday of the month, and every third Thursday of the month.

New Jersey highway statistics are looking good when it comes to seat belt safety for babies and tweens,” Leach says, emphasizing that age does play a role in the mentality of people who decide not to wear their seat belts, “but it’s not so good for teenagers and adults, and we want to get it [the number of people wearing seatbelts] up to 100%.”

To achieve these numbers, Leach is hoping that the coalition’s next idea really picks up—an emergency service coalition summer camp.

“This is for people to see if they’re interested in being a fireman or a police officer,” Leach says, who emphasizes that it was not just her idea, but the entire coalition’s idea to start this up, “We all came up for the idea for a camp,” she says.

Along with the coalition and being a volunteer of the first aid squad for the past 14, going on 15, years, Leach also does per deim work for people with disabilities and also works for New Jersey Highway Traffic and Safety. Along with that, she also works with the Apollo TEAM, which is a peer to peer debriefing service for volunteers who might have witnessed something traumatic over the course of their work.

“If a volunteer sees a fatality, and they don’t know how to handle it,” Leach says, “We let them know that what they’re feeling is normal in an abnormal situation.”

Leach hopes those days never come though, and that’s why she volunteers in the first place.

“[Being in the First Aid Squad] makes you feel like you’re doing something for your community,” Leach says.

No comments: