Connecting to the Communty
Connecting to the Community: New EMS position aims to educate and promote safety
As a new mother in 2003, Mandy Cousins had a hard time finding someone to educate her about car seat safety.
After finally finding a class and becoming a technician, she soon found herself serving as an instructor, helping other parents keep their children safe.
That background coupled with more than 20 years as a trained EMT and CPR instructor helps Cousins in her new day job as Community Outreach Coordinator for Cranberry Township EMS. Her goal is to connect the community to the department in situations other than emergencies.
Those connections are formed through programs like car seat checks, which are held from 10 AM - 2 PM every Tuesday and Thursday at the Route 19 station by appointment. In 2019, more than 300 checks were performed, with a goal of hitting 400 in 2020.
“It’s the easiest way we can improve the safety of children,” Cousins said, adding motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of injuries for kids.
The half-hour checks cover how to install seats correctly, and how to use the various parts. Each check is a “mini car seat class,” Cousins said.
Cousins also leads the Safe Landings Program, with offers parents of infants CPR and first-aid training at their home. A safety inspection and car seat training are also conducted for up to 10 people during those visits.
Other programs include community CPR and first-aid training held every other month, as well as additional safety outreach courses.
Cousins and the EMS team frequently lead tours of the station for school field trips and scout visits. They also go into the community and visit churches, businesses and civic organizations to educate and explain the importance of EMS to the Cranberry community.
“Getting people familiar with how an ambulance works takes some of that terror away from the situation,” Cousins said.