23 Feb EMT extraordinaire: Princeton High senior loves being a first responder
Published February 22, 2018 in the Princeton Packet
By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
There’s something about riding down Nassau Street in an ambulance, with the lights and siren on, that first responder Lana Musa can’t get enough of.
“There’s literally nothing better than that,” said Musa, a senior at Princeton High School, who, when she is not doing classwork, is in the business of saving lives as a volunteer for the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad.
“I love it, I absolutely love it,” said Musa, 18, in a recent interview at the squad headquarters on North Harrison Street. “Interacting with the people in our community is great.”
In 2017, she did a lot of interacting with the public.
She took more calls, 282, than any other squad member — unusual for a high schooler. Last month, at the squad’s installation dinner, she was recognized for her accomplishment, a high honor within PFARS.
Musa estimates that she does 50 to 80 hours of shifts each month, and also responds to calls when she is off duty. In the summer, she was doing more than that, around 150 hours a month.
“It definitely takes a lot of time management, that’s for sure,” she said of balancing her responsibilities at school and at the squad. “And I’m not going to lie, I definitely lost some sleep because of PFARS.”
When she does sleep, it is done at the edge of her pager going off; if a call comes in during the wee hours of the morning, she will rouse herself, get on the road and respond to whatever emergency awaits her.
Yet she finds it manageable, as she can squeeze in some studying and schoolwork when she is at the squad. She embraces the challenges that come with being an EMT and relishes the camaraderie of other squad members.
“We kind of make riding a fun thing. It doesn’t feel like work at all,” she said. “I absolutely enjoy it.”
Volunteering for PFARS runs in the Musa family. One of her older sisters, Susan, now attending Mercer County Community College, was the first to join when Lana was 14. The three other siblings followed suit.
“Our mom loves it,” Lana Musa said. “She’ll hear a cool call go off on the pager and she’ll drive to see it, just to do a drive by.”