EMS, medics always seemed like second family

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Phillip Polston

In 1976, my mother married my stepfather, Robert Johnson, who was an EMT and shift supervisor with Lancaster County EMS. During the next several years, I read all of his EMT and medical books, which gave me my initial interest in EMS.
In 1980 at the age of 16, I was allowed to ride along on the ambulance. At that point, I was considered a gopher – I carried equipment for the medics. After graduating from high school, I worked several different type jobs, but my thoughts kept going back to EMS. I remembered the excitement I felt and the fun I had basically growing up in and considering EMS and the medics my second family. My desire grew to become an EMT. In 1985, I obtained my EMT certification and again started riding along with the crews. In 1986, I began working full-time temporary (full-time pay but no benefits) and obtained my EMT intermediate certification.
In 1988, I was hired as a full-time medic. In 1989, I completed training and became a paramedic. In the mid-1990s, I interviewed for and became B-shift supervisor. I held that position for 12 years, then decided I wanted to return to being a street medic and took a position as assistant supervisor. In the years to follow, I obtained multiple medical and rescue certifications.
In 2007, I obtained a position in training as the first responder/special operations coordinator. This allows me to help others in a different way. From family members, first responders to medics, I’m helping others to possibly save a life; and for me, keep my second family growing.