By day, Wagner graduate Conor Trollo ’19 is a computer systems administrator for the college’s I.T. office, where he’s worked full-time for almost three years.
But when he’s off the clock, Conor is an emergency medical technician for the North Shore Rescue Squad, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that fields an ambulance on Staten Island.
He’s been volunteering with North Shore for about two years, picking up one or two 8-hour shifts during an average week.
“But since the coronavirus hit, I have been picking up roughly four shifts a week, each one 8 hours or more,” he said. “The EMS response system has been heavily taxed, and volunteer units like mine have been putting out their ambulances every day to assist the hospital and FDNY units.
“We also have to account for the increased risk COVID presents to our older members, and we are taking precautions. The younger members, like me, have taken more shifts.”
How steeply has the call volume increased for New York City’s Emergency Medical Services during the coronavirus epidemic?
“Usually the NYC EMS system, as a whole, has less than 4,000 calls per day,” Conor said. “For 16 straight days, from March 24 to April 8, it was in excess of 6,000 calls per day, and for three of those days it went over 7,000.”
North Shore Rescue mostly handles sick calls, which Conor explains “can be anything. We always take initial precautions, wearing N95 masks and gloves.”
He said that the nurses, doctors and P.A.s inside the hospitals North Shore serves, working for hours on patient after patient, “are the main people on the front lines, but you also have the EMTs and paramedics who run the risk of infection from going in to people’s homes.
“After each shift, it is good to know that the normal units that are constantly running” — ambulances from the hospitals and the Fire Department of New York — “appreciate the mutual aid and volunteers as we lighten the load for them, making each shift more manageable.
“Volunteering is a rewarding experience,” Conor said. “It allows you to make another person’s day better, just by helping them in a large or small way.”