EASTPOINTE — Firefighters from the Eastpointe Fire Department treated a group of seniors to a cool spring treat at an ice cream social at the Eastpointe Housing Commission’s Grant Manor April 17.
“We’ve been doing this for a number of years,” said firefighter Nick Sage. “We try to sponsor (ice cream socials) a couple times a year. Our thought was, if we get here in the spring and the fall, we could connect with these seniors to update them on what we are doing and pass out the Vial of Life information.”
Vial of Life is a Fire Department-sponsored program that helps firefighters and paramedics attend to emergency calls from seniors. Each senior at the ice cream social was given a plastic Ziploc bag with a Vial of Life sticker on it, a questionnaire and a magnet.
“They fill out their name, their vital information, what medications they take, any allergies to medications, their doctor’s name and stuff like that. And basically it folds up and they put it back in the Ziploc sandwich bag, and we make these magnets so they can stick the bag with all their information right on the fridge,” Sage said.
“If we come in the apartment, especially if there are circumstances, like a respiratory emergency, where they can’t really talk, we don’t have to waste valuable time. We just pull it down and jot down their information or bring it with us.”
Grant Manor resident and senior JoAnn Dudley said she planned on filling out the form and hanging it on her refrigerator right after the social, because “you never know what will happen.”
“I had did something dumb the other day,” Dudley said. “I turned my stove on and it caught on fire. I had to call the maintenance man and he fixed it for me, but it was from the grease. I put a top on it, but it just went up and my smoke detector went off and I said, ‘Oh, Lord.’ I know better than to throw water on it. I know that much. But you don’t know what will happen.”
After serving vanilla and old-fashioned butter pecan ice cream, and hearing information on the program, the firefighters mingled with the seniors. They were off duty, there as volunteers, and the seniors made sure to let them know just how much they appreciated them coming out.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said senior Dalphine Dulworth, who has been an Eastpointe resident for 50 years. “I think it’s grand because I get to see people that I’ve known for many years in Eastpointe. I think we should do it more often.”
“We love you guys,” said senior Linda McDaniel, before going on to express her concerns with privatized ambulance service. “Isn’t there anything we can do to get you guys back? We have concerns about using the private service.”
Sage responded with a smile at the compliment, then sat down with McDaniel to explain to her how the new ambulance service works.
“Well, let me put your mind at ease,” Sage said. “We understand how you feel, but they are doing a good job and we still go on every call. We no longer have a stretcher or ambulance, but we still have all of the tools and supplies we had before, and we respond to every call that comes in, so you don’t have anything to worry about.”
McDaniel maintained she’d much rather have the firefighters she knows so well from years as an Eastpointe resident come to her aid if in need, but she said that, if they told her it was OK, she trusted them.
Before the end of the ice cream social, Sage invited everyone to the Fire Department’s field day event — the details of which are still being worked out — planned for June 1 at Kennedy Memorial Park, and promised to be back in September, at which time he said he’d bring along a department DVD.
“It’s basically a slideshow of us at work with music in the background. People love it. They get to see the pictures and the guys doing stuff. Not everyone in the public gets to see what we are actually doing, and this DVD lets them see us at work.”
The department also hosts ice cream socials at the Eastpointe Housing Commission’s Chester Berry Manor and Erin Manor. The Eastpointe Fire Department can be reached at (586) 445-5055.