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ON CALL WITH ADDIE NORDEN ‘18 HIGHLAND SENIOR FOLLOWS IN MOM'S FOOTSTEPS AS VOLUNTEER EMT

Most Highland students head home at week’s end to chill with friends, or maybe catch up on sleep. But not Addie Norden ’18. Instead, Addie heads to the Warrenton Volunteer Fire Company where she serves as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and works an overnight shift that runs from 6pm Friday to 6am Saturday. There, she responds to and mitigates emergency calls.

"Running calls is in her blood."

Running calls is in her blood. In earlier days her mother, Renee Norden, Highland’s Director of Guidance and College Counseling, ran at Rescue Squad 6 where she was president and a life member. Now, Rescue 6 has merged with the Warrenton Volunteer Fire Department, where Addie works. “It seemed fitting to follow in my mother’s footsteps,” says Addie. “Plus, I’ve always been drawn to trauma.”

Addison Norden '18 (far right) volunteers with Warrenton Volunteer Fire Company. She has completed her Emergency Medical Technician training and is becoming certified as a fire fighter.

Addie got serious about pursuing her EMT as a sophomore. She sent in her application the day she turned sixteen, which is the minimum age one can begin training. She completed the intensive training last February, and started working immediately. Her first call out was a death investigation. “That was a tough call,” she remembers. “It definitely got my attention.”

Lack of sleep is another challenge, admits Addie. “Some nights you'll get a call at 1700 hours and won't get back to the station until 0200 or even 0600.” And then there are the calls that result in being on the scene for hours—for example, a recent call in Culpeper where the units were there for thirteen hours, contending with a large fire.

Now, in addition to her EMT work, she is in training to be certified as a firefighter-- a commitment that involves class every Monday and Wednesday evening, plus fire school every other Saturday. Back at the station, Addie writes and posts information about accidents as part of her team’s public relations outreach. You can find one of her most recent write up by clicking on this link.

In addition to skills learned, Addie counts camaraderie as one of the benefits of her involvement. “The people on my shift and in my department are really like a family,” she says. “I think that happens with every fire house. I gained 150 brothers and sisters when I joined. I know they would sacrifice everything for me, and I for them. It's a great environment to be part of.”

“Helping people is so rewarding. It makes the hard calls and sleep deprivation worth it. People that are calling for you are usually having the worst day of their life. They need YOU, and you've been training so much just to be able to help them. It feels really good.”

Not one to slow down, Addie sees paramedic school in her future. At the heart of all the long hours is her desire to help. “Helping people is so rewarding,” she notes. “It makes the hard calls and sleep deprivation worth it. People that are calling for you are usually having the worst day of their life. They need YOU, and you've been training so much just to be able to help them. It feels really good.”

Interested in getting involved with the Warrenton Volunteer Fire Company? Click here to learn more!

Created By
David Henrickson
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Photos provided by Norden family

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