A world without EMT’s seems foreign, but more than 40 years ago that was reality in York County. In 1975, a class of 37 people became the first EMT’s exactly one year ago to the date, April 1.
“We became York County’s first EMT’s,” said EMT Class of 1975 member John Senft. Now retired, Senft says it all started with the the Highway Safety Act of 1966 which outlined initiatives to promote better medical care.
“One of those was to provide better care for people who were injured in car crashes,” said Senft.
The graduates say having higher educated personnel on the streets meant the difference between life and death for patients.
“Yeah, we were able to save lives,” said EMT Class of 1975 member Kenneth Myers.
“It increased the possibility of people surviving,” EMT Class of 1975 member Robert Shaw said.
“There’s no question in my mind that more people would have ended up dead and more seriously injured than where they ended up when they finally got to the hospital,” said EMT class of 1975 Bob Whyland.
They are the pioneers that paved the way for the modern day York County EMT.
“The hours have expanded, the knowledge has expanded, and the service they provide has expanded like the size of the book,” Whyland said.
Over time, the training book has gotten a lot thicker, but one thing has remained the same: the mental toughness it takes to be an EMT.
“It’s a world fought with dangers to the medical technician,” said Whyland.
“You see something that you don’t want to see, you shouldn’t have had to see. The hardest things are obviously kids,” said Myers.