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Some ski patrol employees training as EMTs during COVID-19 pandemic

The 'surge-crew' will be activated if paramedics get overwhelmed.

VAIL, Colo. — Members of the ski patrol in Vail, who lost their jobs when the resort closed, have found new work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emily Selonick is one of several ski patrollers getting training to help EMTs and paramedics in Eagle County.

RELATED: Ski resorts, hotels announce furloughs amid closures in hospitality industry

"I felt like it was something that I could do with my skill set to help out in this time of crisis," Selonick said.

She's part of the so-called 'surge crew.'

Eagle County Paramedic Services will activate the crews if they start getting overwhelmed with calls or if full-time EMTs and paramedics start getting sick.

"We put a plan in motion to get them trained up as quickly as possible," said Chris Montera, an Eagle County paramedic. "It effectively doubled our ability to put ambulances on the road if we needed to."

RELATED: 'It's everywhere here': Vail Health CEO issues stern COVID-19 warning to mountain community

Training began on March 25 and is continuing as more ski patrollers are added to the team.

"We are doing some online training that is specific to the COVID-19 training and how to assist and how to put on your personal protective equipment and then assist in putting it on and taking it off for other people so that it’s safely done,"  Selonick said. "We’re also doing in-person training on the ambulance, driving the ambulance, how to use the gurneys in the ambulance and some other day-to-day operations type stuff for the ambulance." 

Montera says he hasn't had to activate the team yet. He said since early April, ambulance calls have dropped and that he believes that is a sign that social distancing is working.

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