North Central EMS is a non-profit organization that has offered superior healthcare to our surrounding area since 1986. There team is staffed with dedicated personal that go above and beyond their duties every day. Learn more about some of these amazing individuals in our EMS Spotlight.
I started my career as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in January 1980 after attending classes at EHOVE. Upon receiving my certification, I began working for Norwalk Ambulance Service. This was a very part-time position where the scheduled Driver/EMT had the squad at their residence and when a call came in, they responded to their scheduled partner's residence, picked them up, and responded to the scene.
In 1984, I attended classes and completed my Advanced EMT Certification. In April of that year, Milan Fire/EMS and Norwalk Ambulance joined forces, spear-headed through Fisher Titus, and became North Central EMS— the brainchild of Mr. Pat Martin, former President & CEO of Fisher-Titus. I joined the newly-established North Central EMS and became a paramedic in 1988. Today, I am the only full-time employee that has been with North Central since its inception 34 years ago.
I am not sure what motivated me to become part of EMS. Before working as a full-time EMT, I worked as a legal secretary in Norwalk. While working in the legal field, I had many friends in law enforcement— many of them also worked part time for Norwalk Ambulance. I was intrigued. I had a desire to help people, that was the way I was raised. If someone needed something, you helped them. Being in EMS, you gain many friends. You work 24-hour shifts, often with the same person every third day. Your partner becomes your family.
I have many awesome memories. Some as amazing as delivering four healthy baby boys, and some that were the worst days of someone's life. Those are the days that we learn the most from— that we have to pick ourselves up and just move forward. I have cried and prayed with family members; I am not ashamed of that.
About 32 years ago, I became a CPR Instructor through The American Heart Association and, under Fisher-Titus as a Training Center, North Central EMS became a training site. Being able to teach members of our community how to help others and save lives speaks volumes. I never realized the domino effect that teaching life-saving skills would have. But my biggest passion is probably the kids.
I began teaching Safety Town to kids that would soon be going to Kindergarten in Greenwich about 15 years ago. This is an excellent time to fill their little brains with knowledge about being safe and that EMS, Fire, Police and K-9 units are their "safe" friends. Children have the opportunity to learn many things from these first responders including "Stranger Danger" and making smart choices. They also can to take their first school bus ride while learning about bicycle, playground, and railroad safety. I have watched many of these children grow up, graduate, and become young adults. If I had to do all of this all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I truly love my job and my company.
Matt Knowlton, EMT-P, has been working as a paramedic for the last three and a half years. There is no question that emergency medical services (EMS) are an essential community service, but it takes a special kind of person to be a paramedic or an EMT. For Matt, the decision to enter this field came down to a few key things.
“I’ve always liked working with my hands,” said Matt. “I did a lot of that with my previous professions, but I also like helping people. So being able to incorporate those two things kind of steered me in this direction.”
The community need is also a huge driving force for Matt.
“People out there need help,” said Matt. “Whether they are laid up in bed not feeling well, or they just rolled their car five times. The things that we do are very important and it’s a needed thing, so I just kind of steered towards that under the premises of liking to help people.”
What is a typical day for a paramedic?
“It’s most appropriately described as some slower days with moments of sheer terror and adrenaline,” said Matt. During a normal shift, the EMS team on-call arrive at the station and check their truck to make sure they are stocked for the day with the materials and medications they need. Then they wait.
“(The station) is kind of like a second house for us,” said Matt. “We do take care of our chores, sweep up, and just kind of clean up like you would your own house. Some days we bounce skills off each other— making sure we are on par.”
While some calls are emergencies, North Central EMS also is responsible for interfacility transfers and local transports such as taking an elderly patient from the nursing home to the hospital and then back.
“People in our community can rest easy knowing that they have the best of the best here to take care of them, if and when they need us,” said Matt.
What’s your favorite thing about being a paramedic?
“The spontaneity about it,” said Matt. “It’s not monotonous. Every day is going to be different. Every call is going to be different. You don’t get stuck doing the same thing.”
“I’ve found this to be a great place to work, myself. When I first got into the field, I put out a lot of applications. I feel like North Central EMS is a place that I could retire from some day.”
Tell me about an impactful moment.
“One thing that jumps out to me was a simple transport that we did, from one hospital to another,” said Matt. “This lady was involved in a motorcycle accident when she was in her twenties. It had left her as a quadriplegic, but she told herself that was not what she going to be. She worked hard into her forties—regained use of her arms and was beginning to regain feeling in her legs just due to sheer determination. So that kind of reiterated to me that anything you put your mind to, you can do. That experience really drove it home for me. It was inspiring.”
How else are you involved in the community?
“There are many special events that we cover,” said Matt. “During the fall, we provide coverage for the football games.”
North Central EMS also provides services for other local events and festivals — one being a favorite of many young children in the community.
“There is this program called Touch a Truck where we will setup somewhere and little kids will come to see the vehicles,” said Matt. “They will come in and we will explain the things that we do, they get to get on the truck and see all the equipment that we work with. It’s really cool! The kids get really excited about stuff like that.”
On his own, Matt recently became a member of the Special Response Team as a paramedic here in Norwalk. While he has only completed a couple trainings, he is looking forward to participating more and strengthening his position. He also serves on Fisher-Titus’ Employee Advocacy Committee— a group of employees that meet every few months review requests made by other employees to improve the workplace.
Dave Przytulski, EMT-P, has always had a desire to take care of people. So, after working at a local hospital as an aid, it wasn’t a surprise when his mother suggested becoming a paramedic.
“I was going to school for biology, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Dave. “My mom kind of said one day, ‘why don’t you get into EMS or something?’ and I was like, yeah, that sounds like something I would like.”
Dave has been working as a paramedic since October of 2018— joining North Central EMS team a little over a year and a half ago.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to help people,” said Dave. “It’s a gratifying feeling being able to make a difference in someone’s life when they are having a really bad time. No one wants to see us, but we are there for them when they need us.”
Dave feels that there are many qualities a great EMT or paramedic must possess including being caring, compassionate, and, most importantly, being understanding of people’s situations.
“We can see some people in really bad situations. Some being drug-related,” said Dave. “Don’t judge— you don’t know what they are going through. You have to treat everyone the same.”
While Dave and his partner have impacted many people throughout their career together, a few really stick out in his mind.
“One call was for a young child that had gotten into some medicine that he shouldn’t have,” said Dave. “He was in pretty bad shape when we arrived, but we were able to keep him stable until we got to the hospital. It felt really good knowing we were able to help someone so young.”
Since becoming a paramedic, Dave feels he has a lot more understanding of what other people are going through and has made him an overall more caring member of the community.
“We are here to help,” said Dave. “People can call any time they need us, day or night. We will be there to help them.”