Josh, an Epilepsy Foundation Eastern PA volunteer, first started working with the EFEPA as a Camp Achieve counselor which led him to establish the EFEPA Youth Council.  He is taking his passion for the Foundation and his career as a First Responder to help the EFEPA with a new, important initiative: educating emergency personnel on seizure recognition and proper seizure first-aid.

After Josh had his first seizure in 2006 during his high school graduation, he knew his life was going to change. A summer that was supposed to be filled with graduation parties and summer classes at college turned into a summer of neurology appointments and many medical tests. After a visit to the Children’s Hospital, where he saw children affected by uncontrollable seizures, he was compelled to begin a career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

Now, five years later, at the age of 23, Josh is a nationally registered Paramedic. Throughout his schooling and training, he was stunned to see how little attention was paid to epilepsy/seizure disorder. “Anytime epilepsy was mentioned in class, we learned what to do in case we saw someone having a convulsive, tonic-clonic seizure”, said Josh. “We never learned about the other types of seizures and the after-effects.”

This omission in first responders’ training is unacceptable.

Seizures come in many forms and can often be mistaken for other illness or behaviors. Individuals with epilepsy and their caregivers put their health and safety in the hands of our emergency personnel and assume that they are appropriately trained. If an EMT, police officer, or other first responder, makes a mistake in recognizing and reacting to a seizure, it can lead to devastating results.

To better educate first responders, the EFEPA developed an educational program specifically for EMS and law enforcement. This 90-minute course covers seizure recognition and proper first-aid management. Will you donate today and help us reach our goal to train 500 emergency personnel in 2012 throughout our 18-county service area?

Your donation will make a difference. Consider contributing at the following levels:

  • Materials for 1 EMS and 1 Police Officer – $30
  • Seizure Recognition and First Aid Sheets and Cards provided to a station – $50
  • Mailing Seizure First-aid sheets and cards to an area’s First Responders – $100
  • Training for an entire EMT Company – $250
  • Training for an entire Police Department – $500
  • Training for First Responders throughout an entire township: $1,000

Click here to donate.

You can also help yourself in this process by doing the following:

  • Keep a Seizure First-Aid business card in your wallet or give to a caregiver. Download seizure first-aid information.
  • Place seizure first-aid information and a list of your medication, including emergency medications & procedures in an easy-to-find location, like on your refrigerator.
  • Wear a Medical ID bracelet.
  • Have a contact listed as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your cell phone and with your seizure first-aid information at home.
  • Contact your local ambulance company, fire department or police department to tell them about your epilepsy and encourage them to contact the EFEPA to receive proper training.

The Foundation looks forward to updating you throughout the year on the progress of the First Responders’ Training in reaching our goal. We encourage you to check back for stories regarding this program and to hear when a training will be held in your area.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!