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Chief Insights: Strengthening the bonds within the membership

“As a volunteer agency, I want to make sure when someone calls 911 in our district, that our ambulances are ready to roll out the door when the tones go off.”

Nick Louros

The following content is part of EMS1’s EMS Leader Playbook – aimed at helping new EMS leaders increase their effectiveness, enhance their leadership KSAs, develop trust among crewmembers, and build confidence. Through a handful of questions presented by EMS1, veteran chiefs reflect on their early days in leadership roles and offer advice, while newer leaders detail their experiences taking on a new position. Email to offer your insights for the EMS Leader Playbook.

In this installment of Chief Insights, we feature Nicholas E. Louros, EMT-B, vice president/chief of operations, Eastchester (New York) Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc.

EMS1 — The spark: What put you on the path to becoming a chief?

Louros: Following the footsteps of previous EVAC Chiefs, Scott Mikos, Kevin O’Donnell and Jude Valerioti. All three were inspirations for me to take the next step in my EMS career and continue to keep Eastchester EMS as one of the top agencies in New York State.

Look ahead: What’s something you want to accomplish as chief?

This is my 10th year as chief, but I always want to make sure that staffing is our No. 1 priority. As a volunteer agency, I want to make sure when someone calls 911 in our district, that our ambulances are ready to roll out the door when the tones go off.

I try to make every member feel like they are an equal part of the agency and no one is above each other. Coupling that mentality with continuous training, team-building events outside the building, dinners and sometimes weekend trips has proven to further strengthen the bonds within our membership. Recruitment and retention is huge in a volunteer agency and we pride ourselves in having a long-lasting volunteer base.

How will you create an organizational culture that people want to be a part of, to join and to stay in?

How are you going to support and stand up for your personnel, internally and externally, to show that you care about them as a person and a professional?
Listen to both sides of the story before making my final decision. Make sure I praise in public, but discipline in private. Provide small gifts as a token of appreciation for doing a good job and/or stepping up – whether that is a pat on the back or a team dinner.

How do you demonstrate servant leadership?

I try to be involved/present for all training and riding the ambulance with them. Basically showing them just because of my title, that I’m not above them.

Leadership lightning round

  • What is a leadership book, podcast or seminar you’ve found invaluable? Ivory Tower, by Captain Thomas Rizzo.
  • If you knew the budget request would be approved, what’s a big purchase you’d make for your department today? Needed updates/improvements and expansion of our HQ. We are fortunate enough to have a large membership, but we have outgrown the space we currently have. By doing improvements and an expansion it will allow us to do more training without interrupting the on duty crews.
  • How do you recharge/improve your resiliency? Bike ride; spending time with my two sons, Emmanuel and Theodore; and trying to make sure not to go home with any negative outlooks. I try to correct any and all issues before leaving the building.

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