Northshire Rescue Squad Steps Forth to Aid Operations at the Vermont Summer Festival
The Northshire Rescue Squad responds to some 1,200 calls for help every year, but a recent emergency request from Dorset’s Vermont Summer Festival was a different type of 911. Unless a devoted staff of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) could be assembled in mere weeks, the annual six-week equine summer event was off, leaving an $18 million hole in the local economy – not to mention the untold numbers of disappointed horse fans!
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) requires the presence of EMTs at all events. “Unfortunately, the vendor who handled all our EMT event coverage for the last 16 years recently passed away unexpectedly,” related John Ammerman, Vermont Summer Festival’s show manager. “It was a shock and surprise to all of us. If we were unable to assemble a new team of Vermont-certified EMTs, this year’s Summer Festival was in jeopardy of being cancelled at the 11th hour.”
That’s when the call for help went out to the Northshire Rescue Squad. On the receiving end was chief operating officer Mike Casey, who immediately recognized that this was no routine run. “Covering the Summer Festival requires 660 EMT hours of on-site support,” he said. “Not only is that a big number, but it’s difficult to find Vermont-certified EMTs who are not already committed to caring for the public.” With the clock ticking, Mike pulled out his rolodex and reached out to his contacts from across Vermont. The challenge was to find available EMTs without cutting back on the 24/7 service for the five towns already served by the Northshire Rescue Squad. There were also administrative hurdles and questions, such as insurance liability. But, thanks to the assistance of members of the Northshire Rescue Squad’s Board of Directors, EMT were lined up with a plan in place that meets the strict guidelines of the USEF – great news for local community leaders! Dorset town manager Rob Gaiotti was ecstatic – and greatly relieved. “The Summer Festival has been an annual highlight for Dorset for the last 25 years,” he said. “I can’t begin to imagine a summer without it.” John O’Keefe, Manchester town manager, added, “Our restaurants, hotels, inns and retail stores would all have been impacted by a cancellation. The Festival is a critical component of our summer economy.”
John Conte, president of the Northshire Rescue Squad Board of Directors, was pleased with the teamwork. “Mike Casey was determined to pull this off and John Ammerman was a supportive partner throughout this process. At the same time, when the dilemma surfaced, our local community leaders were all ready to stand up and help. With all the pieces now in place, the show will go on!”
The 2018 Vermont Summer Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary through Sunday, August 12, at the Harold Beebe Farm on Route 7 in East Dorset. Events are held Tuesday to Sunday.