Galla County Emergency Medical Services
The Members of UMWA Local Union 0911 are employed by Gallia County Emergency Services in Gallipolis, Ohio. Gallia County is located in southwestern Ohio along the banks of the Ohio River. Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Station 9 is located just off of State Route 160 almost due north of Gallipolis. The women and men who staff the station and care for the residents of the area have been Members of UMWA District 17 since May 21, 1996.
“It takes a very special individual to do the stressful and many times heartbreaking work that Emergency Medical professionals must perform on a daily basis”, stated President Roberts. “The Members of Local Union 0911 understand the pressures of the job better than anyone else. They must deal with life and death decisions every time they respond to a call for assistance. Each time they rise to the occasion and do their very best. They are consummate professionals and we are fortunate to have them as Members of the UMWA.” The EMS, most commonly referred to as ambulance or paramedic services, treat injuries or illnesses from the minor mishaps to life threatening episodes. No matter the circumstance, each event requires an urgent medical response to provide out-of-hospital treatment and in most cases transportation of patients to a medical center for definitive care. The Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) of Local Union 0911 work tirelessly, around the clock, covering 455 squares miles of Gallia County, Ohio, to ensure every member of the community is provided the emergency medical care they may require, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Becoming an EMT requires months of classroom instruction, then additional on-the-job training. The time spent preparing to become an EMT is demanding and, at times, extremely stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure these professionals are fully prepared for the multiple emergency situations they must respond to while on duty. “Every member working for Gallia Emergency Medical Services should be so proud of the life-saving services they provide each and every day to the citizens of their communities,” said President Roberts. “They are continually updating their skills and expanding their knowledge to ensure every individual they come in contact with receives the best possible emergency care. The citizens of Gallia County are truly blessed to have these UMWA Members looking after their health and well-being.”
EMTs are highly trained professionals that must respond quickly to emergency situations, accident scenes or persons suffering traumatic injuries. Local Union 0911 President Chris Barnes has been a Gallia County EMT for 21 years. “We receive 4,400 to 4,500 emergency calls per year,” said Barnes. “We cover such a large area that we have to use several of the local hospitals, including Pleasant Valley, St. Mary’s, Cabell and Holzer Hospital. All of our EMTs have a great, professional relationship with each of the hospitals in the area, and working together we are able to provide the best care to the citizens of our communities.”
The Union Means Everything
Brother Barnes’ family has a long history with the Union. His grandfather was a member of the United Mine Workers and suffered from Black Lung disease. “When my grandfather got Black Lung, he moved to Ohio to seek specialized treatment. He passed away when I was five years old, and the Union took care of my grandmother for the rest of her life,” said Barnes. “If it wasn’t for the United Mine Workers, my mom’s family wouldn’t have been able to survive after he passed. They wouldn’t have had anything. His Union membership meant everything to the family.”
Local Union 0911 Member Ashley Brumfield has been working as an EMT with Gallia County for over 13 years. “We are not only responsible for responding to emergency calls. As EMTs, we respond to every emergency situation in our area, and if necessary, we transport patients to the hospital. However, we do not transport patients back to their residence after they have received treatment. Our job is to take care of any situation that requires immediate medical attention.” said Brumfield. “When we aren’t responding to emergency calls, we handle cleaning of our ambulances, handling of supplies and medications, such as narcotics and preparing for the next call. We have five ambulances that we are responsible for in our area of response. We have a lot of responsibilities, and it can be quite stressful at times, but we know that the Union has our back, and that really helps during those difficult times.”
Local Union 0911 Financial Secretary Malynda Small has been a member for eight years. “I’ve been Financial Secretary since 2017,” said Small. “We have full-time and part-time EMTs here, and we all work very well together. All of the EMTs in the County are Members of the Union and we look out for one another.”
“We have a great group of EMTs working in Gallia County,” said International District 17 Vice President Gary Trout. “These are very difficult jobs. EMTs see the worst in human tragedy and offer comfort and assistance in some of the most horrific circumstances. They do an outstanding job serving the residents of their community, and we are extremely proud they are a part of the UMWA Membership.”
Working Together to Save Lives
The 50 members of Local Union 0911 work a rotating shift of 24-hours on call at the station and then 48 hours off. The shift rotation ensures the County EMS are manned by qualified professionals 365 days a year. Calls to the Station can range anywhere from someone having a heart attack, a person experiencing symptoms of a stroke or the result of individuals being involved in a car accident. It is the unknown factors of each incident that make every emergency response unique. The members of Local Union 0911 are trained, skilled and always ready to respond to a call no matter what the situation may entail.
“Any time you have individuals who are working under very stressful conditions and they are still able to calmly and professionally perform their duties, it clearly demonstrates the dedication and commitment they have for their fellow human beings,” said Secretary-Treasurer Allen. “We are so fortunate to have these talented, dedicated and caring individuals as a part of our diverse membership. Every member of their community should be thankful they have these wonderful folks to provide the care and transportation they may need on a moment’s notice.”
Honored by the Members of the Community
The former Director of Gallia County Emergency Medical Services, Larry Boyer, who held the position for 15 years before retiring last year, praised the professionalism and outstanding services provided by the EMTs of Gallia. In 2018, Boyer recommended Local Union 0911 member Brandon Lasseter be named paramedic of the year for his outstanding professionalism and going above and beyond the call of duty while on the job. “We have some of the best EMTs I have ever worked with,” said Lasseter. “It’s an honor to be recognized as paramedic of the year.” Brother Lasseter has been on the team at Gallia EMS for over ten years.
The Gallia County Commissioners sought to honor those who give of themselves every day in recognition of National Emergency Medical Services Week. An official proclamation marked the week of May 20th through 26th as EMS week in Gallia County. The commissioners stated that the efforts of the professionals working at the County emergency medical services have been key in improving the lives of the citizens of Gallia County. The survival and recovery rate of those who experience sudden illness or injury has significantly improved each year because of their dedication.