EMS Week 2020: PVA Member Showcase with EMT Jeff Baker

May 19, 2020

Imagine providing life-saving interventions on the side of a snowy mountain with harsh elements and limited resources; that’s an everyday task for Jeff Baker, one of our EMTs, who also works as a member of the Ski Patrol at Bristol Mountain Ski Resort.

“The environment is often very hostile and varied. Rain, heavy snow, temperatures from 50 to -50 are to be expected. Ski patrolling is often 12 hours, in the elements.”

Jeff got interested in EMS in the mid 70’s through wilderness emergency medicine training. Ski Patrol felt like a natural extension to him.

The National Ski Patrol in the USA was founded in 1938, after its first chairman was injured skiing and had trouble evacuating himself from the slope with no aid.

“The ski patrol’s mission is to educate the skiing public on mountain safety and to rescue those that need help. On larger mountains, that can extend beyond the boundaries of the ski resort where traditional rescue teams might need help with high angle rescue, search and rescue or avalanche searches.”

Not your typical Ambulance road shift…

“You start several hours prior to the skiing public gaining access, checking every trail to locate and mark any potential hazards, inspecting the lifts for safety issues, preparing the caches of rescue equipment and taking measures to eliminate dangers from potential avalanches.”

Ski Patrol Members must have and maintain the same certifications as our road personnel do, in addition to training in Outdoor Emergency Care. The toolbox is quite different; the majority of incidents are trauma based due to the physical nature of skiing. After all, it’s a dangerous sport- and obviously, members of the Ski Patrol have to be extremely skilled at downhill skiing or snowboarding to traverse across the mountain to provide aid.

“A ski patroller works primarily with what they can fit into their backpack…you learn to work with a variety of equipment and techniques to meet a range of challenges.”

Their “office” becomes the side of a mountain instead of the inside of an Ambulance.

Jeff also works as a Carpenter, owning Timber Home Design Build in Honeoye Falls, which creates heavy Timber framed projects including gorgeous homes found throughout our community.

So why does this successful Carpenter and business owner stay so involved in EMS and emergency care?

“The satisfaction of helping others, providing everything from a reassuring smile to life saving intervention makes all of the training, effort and dedication, worth every minute. Knowing you can make a real difference is rare in our world today.”