In our feature First Response, we highlight the local men and women who are first at the scene in times of need. Greg Bikowski is a paramedic for Athens County Emergency Medical Services and an adjunct faculty member in the Hocking College Emergency Response Lab.
What got you into being a paramedic?
Becoming a paramedic was an interest that I had since I was a young kid. The 1970’s show “Emergency” had a lot to do with it. As an adult, I began to work in community service. What better job is there for community service?
Do you have any other family that are also first responders?
My father was a firefighter in South Bend, Ind. for 36 years. I grew up around the fire department and knew from an early age, because of him, what it meant to be a first responder.
Do you do any other work as a first responder besides being a paramedic?
I am an adjunct faculty member at Hocking College where I teach in the Emergency Response Lab. I also teach for the Hocking College Paramedic Program where I work as an instructor in the student’s clinical setting at O’Bleness Hospital.
What do you like best about your job?
What I like best is the constantly changing environment. You never know what the day holds for you or what type of scene you’ll respond to. There is a wide variety of types of calls that ACEMS gets. We respond to both medical emergencies and traumatic injuries. There is no “typical” day. Every shift is a different experience. The bottom line though, is knowing that you made a difference for someone’s life.
What are the challenges of your job?
There are many challenges in my job. The first thing we always do is make sure that we are safe. We never really know until we arrive on scene what the situation might be. That’s the first challenge. Secondly, it’s always a challenge to manage a stressful situation in a stranger’s home, business or on the side of the road. Good patient care is always the focus, but there is always family, friends or bystanders that have to be dealt with. EMS is a changing profession. There are new medications, new equipment, new protocols that have be constantly learned and managed. Getting the right training and using your skills appropriately is always a challenge.
What other types of jobs have you had in your life?
I’ve had a number of other occupations before settling in on EMS as a career. I was a teacher for a couple of years in Colorado and Minnesota. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador where I worked in Water and Sanitation and Health Education. I worked in community development or a few years around Athens. I was a graduate student at OU and worked as a Teaching Assistant and Graduate Assistant.
What do you do when you’re not working?
When not working, I’m out and about with my two boys at soccer, music lessons, or just living life. Kayaking, biking, running, it’s all good. I’m a musician, so you can quite often catch me playing music out somewhere too.