Pikesville VFC makes history
By MICHAEL SCHWARTZBERG Senior Correspondent
1st Responder Network
Story Number 073108127
By Andrea Lavine
Andrea Lavine has been elected 3rd EMS (Emergency Medical Service) Lieutenant at Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company, marking the first time a female Orthodox Jewish volunteer in Baltimore County has held such a rank.
A Pikesville woman who balances being a wife, mother of two teenage daughters, and a career as a hospital-based pediatric social worker has been elected 3rd EMS (Emergency Medical Service) Lieutenant at Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company, marking the first time a female Orthodox Jewish volunteer in Baltimore County has held such a rank.“I wanted to be an EMS provider since age seven and thought about it seriously when I was 18 but was concerned how I would balance that with my Orthodox lifestyle,” said Lt. Andrea Ziv Lavine, who in addition to being elected as a lieutenant was also named PVFC’s EMS Provider of the Year for 2007. “When I married I remained interested but ignorant of my options.” As Lavine embarked on her career she met a volunteer, educated herself about the options, and decided to apply – after her husband completed his PhD.Lavine said the 1970s television show Emergency! played a significant role in her decision to become a volunteer EMS provider. “Ever since watching that show I wanted to be the one to be there in the moment of crisis to help people through,” she said.Lavine, who is in her 30s, officially joined PVFC in June 2005 and has been riding Medic 325 ever since. “I’m grateful for the opportunities I have had over the past three years and for the learning experiences that have enriched my life.”Being an Orthodox female in a firehouse – somewhat of an unusual place to find a mother who wears a skirt over her pants and covers her hair – hasn’t been an issue for Lavine. “I think my acceptance of others has helped with their acceptance of me,” she said. “I had to prove myself as a provider and a productive member of the company to be accepted.”In 2007, Lavine answered more than 130 calls as a volunteer, and responded on 20 more as one of the company’s part-time paid medical staff. Her 15-year-old daughter is also involved with the fire service, having earlier this year joined the Fire Brigade Pipes and Drums of Greater Baltimore, a bagpipe and drum band comprised of firefighters and family members of firefighters from the Baltimore metropolitan area (including two husband-and-wife pairs from PVFC). Next year when she turns 16, she plans to join PVFC as a Junior member. In addition to Lavine, PVFC’s roster includes a number of other Orthodox Jewish members, and a significant number of recent recruits to the company have been Orthodox. Lavine and her family attend Suburban Orthodox Toras Chaim Congregation.PVFC’s ambulance, staffed with volunteer personnel, averages about 1,800 calls per year. In addition to funds raised through community donations, the unit receives significant financial support from Save-A-Heart and Covenant Guild.