Brandon Casto carries a pager with him at all times. He is not a medical doctor, but he handles medical emergencies. The 17-year-old Owen J. Roberts senior is an emergency responder running with both Uwchlan Ambulance and Ludwig’s Fire Company.
On any given day, he will leave school and go right to the firehouse. By noon on Wednesday, February 5, during the ice storms, he had already run 16 calls. He has acquired a large number of emergency response certifications which qualify him to handle situations ranging from automobile accidents to house fires. At only 17 years of age, Brandon has already battled through a potentially life-threatening fire experience.
“It was my 16th birthday and I was clearing trees during the French Creek State Park forest fires,” Brandon said. The French Creek forest fire was the longest fire fight in Pennsylvania history and Brandon was actively involved. “I was so focused on carefully downing a tree that I lost track of the fire advancement and I found myself surrounded by flames.” Brandon did not have time to panic. He finished taking down the tree and crawled along it to safety.
This year, Brandon has been getting more experience with medical rescue. On top of his regular school work, Brandon has completed more than 200 hours in emergency medical training. He is part of Ludwig’s Quick Response Service which may be dispatched prior to an ambulance. He makes assessments, takes vitals and can administer CPR or stop bleeding if necessary.
Brandon’s work and training with emergency medical led him to consider becoming a medical specialist in the military. On July 31, 2013, he took an oath of enlistment with the United States Navy and plans to become a Hospital Corpsman. He will ship out for basic training after high school graduation on July 15, 2014.