Volunteer FAQ

We frequently receive questions regarding serving as an EMT for Granby Ambulance Association. Feel free to contact us at any time with requests for more information or peruse the list of most commonly asked questions below:

What can volunteers do?

Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders (EMR), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Paramedics perform patient care and transportation in conjunction with other volunteer and paid providers. Most of our volunteers are medical providers, though we have some members who help with non-clinical activities and training.

What does it take to become an EMT?

GAA offers a course every fall for anyone interested in becoming an EMT. The course requires a minimum of 150 hours of class instruction plus ten hours of observation at St. Francis Hospital. Classes are held every Monday and Thursday evenings and some Saturdays. At the end of the class, you will need to pass a national registry of EMTs computer-based test and a psycho-motor exam to become certified as an EMT. Once you have become certified and join GAA, you will also need to pass GAA pre-employment requirements and be at least 18 years of age.

How much does it cost to participate in the EMT course?

Please inquire for current pricing. Once you become a GAA member, GAA will reimburse you for half of the fee after you pass the state exam and then volunteer for six months. Members who successfully gain EMT certification may be eligible for tuition reimbursement.

How much time do I need to commit to GAA?

GAA EMT volunteers are asked to ride the ambulance at least two shifts a month.  Standard shifts run for 12 hours and begin either at 6:00am or 6:00pm.  Shifts for shorter durations are available. The ambulance facility does include two comfortable sleeping quarters for those who are on duty.

 What is a typical shift like?

AT GAA, a crew consists of at least one paramedic and one EMT.  On occasion, the shift may include 2 EMT and a paramedic. GAA responds to approximately 1,800 calls a year or an average of 4-5 calls in a 24-hour period while serving our three towns. We transport to Hartford and Springfield area hospitals, other agencies, and occasionally Lifestar.

Do I have to pay for a uniform?

No.  GAA will provide you with a uniform (standard EMS pants and GAA shirts).

Will I have to drive the ambulance?

We do prefer to have volunteers who can drive the ambulance and deliver patient care.  If your shift includes one EMT and one paramedic, it will become necessary for the EMT to drive the ambulance if the call requires advanced life support that can only be provided by paramedics.  In order to become a driver, you must have a clean driving record and pass a driver-training program.

Will I have to drive the ambulance or care for patients right away on my own?

No.  After you are certified and become a member of GAA, you will spend some time riding as the third member of the crew to get better acquainted with our operating procedures and your duties as an EMT.  During this period, you will practice your new skills under the supervision of an experienced EMT or a paramedic.

Learning to drive the ambulance can take some time, particularly if you are not familiar with driving a vehicle of that size. We ask EMT volunteers to practice driving with another crew member during duty shifts when not on a call.

Will I need to know all the streets in East Granby, East Hartland and Granby as well as the surrounding towns?

No.  Our ambulances are equipped with maps and a GPS unit.  In addition, you can ask the dispatcher for directions over the radio.

Will I need to get any shots or vaccinations?

OSHA regulations require that we provide you with a Hepatitis-B vaccine. We do recommend that you consult with your regular physician for other recommendations.

What are the risks for exposure to bloodborne pathogens and communicable diseases?

The ambulance responds to a variety of situations in which exposure to blood-borne diseases and airborne pathogens is possible. During your EMT training, you will be taught skills to protect yourself from such exposure.  In keeping with state and federal regulations, as well as your training, GAA provides the inoculation against hepatitis-B as well as all personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, masks, face shields, etc.) to guard against exposure. Although exposure is rare, GAA provides a workers compensation plan that covers treatment.

Are their other benefits to being a volunteer?

You may earn a $1,000 tax abatement if you are a Granby or East Granby resident and volunteer for a minimum number of hours and attend a minimum number of the monthly training sessions. GAA offers volunteers a quarterly rewards program as well.