Rooted in his childhood, Jacob Phelps found his passion to give back in his community and become an EMT with his local fire department. Having a nurse as a mother and firefighter as a father, he knew that joining his local department and giving back to his small-town community was important.
“Being a student at Mohawk Valley Community College, it’s a lot of work there,” says Jacob, who takes general studies along with criminal justice. They have three rules at Maynard Volunteer Fire Department: family first, work and school then the fire department.
“Knowing their priority list helps a lot. They understand and it helps us prioritize responsibilities,” he says.
At first, you start off slow just going to the department to gain more skill and confidence.
“When I first joined, I didn’t have experience and I was nervous. But there are systems and protocols in place when you first join, the guys who have been around help you with the small stuff,” Jacob says.
“Knowing their priority list helps a lot. They understand and it helps us prioritize responsibilities.”
After some training, you gain more confidence in the work that you do. Jacob enjoys showing up to scenes and makes time in his schedule to show up to a scene when he gets the call.
“Once you get more confident, you can pick your path with what side you want to pursue whether it be EMS or firefighting,” he says.
Learning under the older and longer-tenured volunteers in his department has helped him gain insight and grow as a volunteer.
“The training you get through the department has helped prepare me for real live events,” says Jacob. “The stuff you learn you can take it anywhere. You will always remember how to do that kind of stuff.”