Brandon Oliver is a paramedic and the ambulance director for the Keener Township EMS, the ambulance service for northwest Jasper County. He started his career in emergency medical response as an EMT for a small Merrillville company in 2004. He began as an ambulance driver, and it didn’t take long for him to want to become an EMT.
Oliver decided to be an EMT because he “wanted to do something different every day.” He also said, “I like helping people and being in public service. It keeps it interesting.”
Shortly after receiving his license as an EMT, he decided to keep going and went through paramedic training. He’s been a paramedic since 2006. He worked at KATS ambulance service in Rensselaer at the time. He said some of the paramedics working for the company encouraged him to take the courses, which take about 10 months plus clinicals.
Oliver is a married father of three, two teens and an 11-year old. He said they are very understanding and they know that he can be called out at any time. He sets the schedule to allow all of the medics who work at Keener Twp. EMS to have family time, and they are all like family as well. They don’t hesitate to fill in for each other if need be.
He worked with Keener EMS as a part-time paramedic from 2006 to 2012, when he stepped into the director’s position, which he has held it since. As the director, he is in charge of the day to day operations, while also working his 24 hour shifts as a paramedic. He is certified as a flight paramedic and sometimes flies with a company out of Lafayette.
He is also a special deputy for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and a member of the sheriff’s SWAT team, one of two paramedics who respond when needed to SWAT calls. Both positions are voluntary, but he enjoys being a part of the team.
As a tactical paramedic with the SWAT team, Oliver said he and the other paramedic have access to a fully medical stocked vehicle ready to go at any time. He goes to as many of the SWAT trainings as he can. As a special deputy, he goes out when requested as either a medic and/or law enforcement, which is usually just a few times a year he said. He started doing both jobs for the sheriff’s office about five years ago.
“I just like helping people,” he said. “I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true.”
Another of his passions is teaching his medical skills and promoting an advanced care setting for all of his staff. Through his leadership, Oliver has lead the ambulance personnel to have a more advanced skill set than other ambulance services have. He said they carry more advanced medications and have skills that match those of the medical helicopter programs.
“We try to take every opportunity to learn, and I try to take every opportunity that I can to teach,” he said. “I like to teach EMTs and paramedics the way that we do things here in hopes that it will benefit their patients at other jobs they might have, or any patient that they might encounter another time.”
These skills are advantageous to the community with the closest hospitals 20 to 30 minutes away.
“I teach every chance I get,” Oliver said. Much of the training is every day EMS training. The medics on duty talk about the runs they’ve been on and discuss ways to improve. They also work on skills to keep them at the top of their profession.
“I never dread coming here. I’ve never said I don’t want to go in. It’s easy to work with everyone when they are like family,” he said.
He said anyone thinking about joining the profession, he would encourage them to do so. “Keep an open mind,” he said. “There’s lots of ways to do things. It’s a very rewarding career.”
There is a shortage of paramedics in the area. “It’s not a high paying job, but it is rewarding,” he said.
To the many people Keener Township EMS has helped and the lives they’ve saved, Oliver’s leadership is a large part of that service and he is proud of how well the medics operate and work together for their community.