LVHN COMMUNITY PARTNER Emergency services career is in Chris Greb’s DNA
Christopher Greb, operations manager for the Macungie Ambulance Corps, believes a career in emergency services was in his DNA.
“As soon as I turned 14 and became eligible to be a junior firefighter, I showed up at the Lehigh Township Fire Company and said, ‘I want to be a fireman.’ My father and several uncles were firefighters or police officers,” Greb said, “And, I knew that’s what I wanted to be.”
Two years later, he was seeking to be part of the Lehigh Township Emergency Squad crew.
A year after graduating from Northampton Area High School in 1997, Greb was hired as the first operational employee of the Macungie Ambulance Corps and has been its leader since 2005.
He is also chief of the Laurys Station Volunteer Fire Department in northern Lehigh County, a firefighter with the Charotin Hose Company, North Catasauqua, and an acting supervisor with the Lehigh County 911 Communications Center.
He became a nationally registered paramedic through the Lehigh Valley Health Network Emergency Medical Institute in 2005. He is an adjunct instructor with Lehigh Carbon Community College and a local-level instructor for the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy.
Greb has a ready answer about the value of fire and EMS service providers in any community.
“We answer calls for help in a person’s darkest hour, when they are experiencing their deepest need,” he said.
For Greb and the Macungie Ambulance Corps, meeting the mission of providing the “highest-quality community-based service” does not always have to be the result of a 911 emergency call.
In 2017, a call from a local family seeking affordable transportation for their daughter to a New York City medical center for further assessment, after being treated locally, resulted in round-trip transport at no cost to the family.
“That family is part of our community, and what we did was just the right thing to do,” Greb said. “Many people have an opportunity to help a friend or neighbor on a one-time basis, but when someone does that for a lifetime, it’s a huge commitment.
“It’s not untypical for a volunteer to be cutting the grass at home in one hour and pulling someone from a burning building in the next hour.
“For police and professional medical responders, it means tons and tons of training and a sense of commitment that few people understand. Emergency responders can answer calls for months on end until it becomes almost routine, but when everything lines up and an emergency responder is in the right place at the right time, it can mean life or death for someone.”
He cites an example of a day he was making a routine trip to a convenience store when he came upon a person in cardiac arrest. With his CPR skills and capabilities, Greb was able to get the person back to a suitable heartbeat.
Reflecting on the incident, Greb said he’s grateful that a person is still around who may not have otherwise survived.
“That’s what God put me on this Earth to do,” he said.
Greb said that story is repeated somewhere every day.
“First responders do things they think are normal, things most people would not ever think of doing. People who are attracted to the life of a first responder are the heartbeat of any emergency organization,” he said. “Even the people who are involved don’t always get to see the impact of what they do every day or realize how special they are to a community.
“In the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy and, again as this health pandemic has been unfolding, the words and visible expressions of thanks and gratitude for what we do is what makes what we do really worthwhile.”
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