Tri-Town residents learn how to potentially save a life

Feb 17, 2024

ROCHESTER — Going straight from a 24-hour shift to teaching a class is a regularity for Robert Joyce, an emergency medical technician (EMT) for the Marion Fire Department.

Joyce spent the morning of Saturday, Feb. 17 teaching a free CPR education class to Tri-Town residents at Plumb Memorial Library.

“I want to train as many people as I can,” said Joyce, who also works for Coastal Medical; Transportation Systems, a private ambulance service. He said he enjoys teaching free classes locally to grow the number of people who know how to react in an emergency situation and to meet new people, which is his favorite part of the job.

“I think that everyone should know how to perform CPR because I’ve been in situations where I arrive and nobody is doing anything,” said Joyce. “It’s not their fault — they just aren’t trained.”

Attendees of the class learned differences between cardiac arrest and a heart attack, how to press the chest of someone in trouble and how to decipher if someone is in need of CPR.

Each attendee practiced CPR on a dummy, which Joyce provided for the class. He also showed the group how to use a defibrillator.

Joyce said his father was a police officer and an EMT. “I took one passion and my brother took the other,” said Joyce, who’s brother is a captain for the Lakeville Police Department.

“My father was one of the original EMTs on the island of Nantucket,” said Joyce. “My passion comes from him and what he did.”

As of late, Joyce has been teaching EMTs how to perform CPR and first aid on a police canine, which is mandatory for Massachusetts EMTs as of 2022 after the passing of Nero’s Law.

Joyce explained that Nero’s law was created after the murder of Yarmouth Police Officer Sean Gannon in 2018. Gannon’s partner, a police dog named Nero, was saved.

“What is a day off?” Joyce joked. He said he typically works six or seven days per week.

Joyce started his career as a Rochester firefighter in 1990 and now is in charge of Emergency Medical Services education for the Marion Fire Department.