Cassandra Adams, 17, of Ketchikan, Alaska, a senior at Ketchikan High School, began volunteering with her local fire department five years ago, and has since helped care for numerous victims of fires, accidents and other life-threatening crises as an emergency trauma technician. When her father joined the North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department in 2010, Cassandra learned that the organization did not have enough members to meet all the needs in its 24-mile service area, so she began volunteering there, too.
At first, she helped vacuum, sweep and scrub the firehouse once a month. After she turned 14, Cassandra signed up for a 40-hour course leading to certification as an emergency trauma technician, and became a fire department cadet. She now responds to medical emergencies as part of an ambulance crew, monitoring the condition of patients while they are being transported to the hospital. She also provides medical support to her department's firefighters during fires, and has used her training to teach others. "I always want to help patients in every way I can, so it's difficult to accept that I can't fix everything," she said. On the other hand, there are few things more rewarding than helping to save someone's life, she indicated. "That has made all the difference with me."