Meet Lebanon’s Guardian Angels
Right There When You Need Them
Lebanon residents are extremely fortunate to live in such a vibrant and prospering community, and one of the often forgotten assets are those who remain out of sight until they are called upon to save lives.
For that effort, the Lebanon Fire Department and its staff of 25 firefighters/paramedics operating out of two fire stations, should be labeled as Lebanon’s Guardian Angels. An anonymous quote defines that title: “You should never feel alone because there’s always someone to turn to. It is the guardian angel who is watching over you.”
Veteran Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos has overseen the dedicated firefighters of Lebanon for 37 years and explains just how invaluable these individuals are to the community.
“All of our firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are highly-trained paramedics who have acquired state-of-the art medical skills along with their fire fighting training,” Chief Christopoulos explained. “They must possess the highest level of rigorous and complex medical training. The standard for EMTs has become so high they are simply a great resource for Lebanon and surrounding communities that share mutual aid.”
Eric James has been a firefighter/paramedic with the Lebanon Fire Department for almost eleven years.
The qualifications to become a paramedic has been so elevated over the years that drawing elite applicants when a vacancy in the department occurs has become a challenge.
“I can recall back in 2007, if we had an opening for a paramedic, we would receive some 50-60 applications. These days we would be lucky if we get a dozen or so applicants who meet the requirements. The requirements have risen that high.”
So, what is involved in becoming a paramedic? The website EMS1.com gives you needed insight and awareness.
The requirements to be a paramedic are extremely rigorous, so it’s an undertaking or a career choice not to be taken lightly. A paramedic is the highest level of EMT certification. A paramedic must keep a cool head and maintain authority amongst his or her team members where a mistake can mean the difference between life and death.
Chief Christopoulos confirms just how valuable these dedicated first responders have become in an emergency.
“Being a firefighter/paramedic is the ultimate form of teamwork when you consider what diverse skills each must possess. They have to blend all those skills together under extreme pressure situations.”
Two shining examples of Lebanon’s elite staff are Eric James and Troy Leatherman. Eric has served on the Lebanon staff going on 11 years, while Troy transferred from the Hanover Fire Department 10 months ago. Both express contagious enthusiasm about their chosen profession.
“Yes, there is an enormous amount of pressure with this job, without a doubt,” acknowledged Eric. “But, for me, it is a dream job and I love it. It is such a unique profession. Sometimes you have to be an expert in many aspects. Bottom line, it is an honor to serve in public service and I really love the physical aspect of the job.”
Troy fully agrees with his EMT teammate and admits his transition to Lebanon from the Hanover Fire Department was a smooth one.
“I was very familiar with Lebanon’s department because we had often worked together during mutual aid emergencies. Coming to Lebanon was an easy transition. I accept the pressure involved with this profession and that was something that drew me to be a paramedic. The biggest part of the job sometimes can be handling chaos. That takes special people for sure.”
Chief Christopoulos has seen his dedicated paramedic teams in action his entire career and even though it spans three decades, he can’t wait to get to work each day.
“I am not hesitant to pull out some of my diverse skills when needed. Don’t forget that during the daylight hours in this area we may have to serve as many as 40,000 people and staffing is tight. I take the position that you have to do what you have to do!”
Rest assured, UV residents, they will be there when you need them!