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March 28, 2006 > Training future heroes

Training future heroes

by Lance Dwyer

The thrill of life-threatening urgency and the satisfaction of saving lives; this is the everyday life of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). This pivotal role is not for everyone, but for those who are up to the challenge, Mission Valley Regional Occupational Program (ROP) offers high school students the first step towards reaching this heroic profession.

The emergency medical service class, also known as the EMT prep class, offers a thorough introduction into the life of an EMT. Taught by Lori Adkins, who has been an EMT since 1988, students will be taught to handle simulated emergency medical emergencies including the administration of first aid.

By the conclusion of the class students will have had extensive training and earn a responders certificate. Director of Education Services at ROP, Rick Herrmann stresses that the class is a preparation course. He notes that anyone wishing to pursue a career in the field would subsequently enroll in additional studies to be fully certified as an EMT.

"What this class does is give them an idea of what it's like-not necessarily in the field but in the classes you have to take," said Adkins. "You get an idea of the field too but by doing it now they don't waste time in maybe an area they're not interested in."

The class has served multiple purposes for students-some see it as the first step towards being an EMT or even a firefighter while others like Nicole Davis see it as a way to make them more prepared for other careers.

"I want to work with kids at boys' and girls' center or a community center and this way if someone gets injured, I'll be right there," said Davis. "I want to know something in the medical field so I can help the children, more than just watching over them."

Davis's classmate, Heather Neumann, shares a similar interest for taking the class. Neuman wants to be a dentist and even though she knows she doesn't want to be an EMT, she considers this class helpful in potential emergency situations with a patient.

"You learn so much about your body and how to help people in different situations," said Neumann. "This class has been awesome and we're about to get CPR certified so it's taught me more than I thought I would know."

For Russell Davis (no relation) on the other hand, this class has been his first step towards pursuing a career as a fire fighter. One of his favorite lessons in the class was CPR and though he had an idea of what it was going to be like, he said Adkins helped him understand it on an entirely different level.

"You see it on TV but when you do it in real life it's a totally different story," said Davis. "You put someone else's life in your hands."

Current EMT preparation students highly recommend that others interested in enrolling in the class talk to their career technician or counselor now to register for the fall term.

"It's not one of those easy classes - it's hard but it's real fun," said Nicole Davis. "You do a lot of hands-on stuff so you're not just reading books and writing. It's really interesting and you learn a lot."

In addition to vouching for the material in the class, students were equally enthusiastic about Adkins, who echoed their respect.

"These kids get up early in the morning-they don't have to be here, they want to be here and I appreciate that," said Adkins. "They ask me questions on all sorts of topics and they really want to know the answers. They're fun."

Next year, this course will offer even more opportunities to understand and receive practical experience in the emergency response field by combining it with the fire science program. Within the same class, both an EMT and a fire fighter will be teaching and conducting training at the same time, said Herrmann. He added that with this innovation, students can receive training for both divisions of emergency response and will not have to choose one or the other. Additional future developments in this program will be fire academy preparation and continuing education classes for fire fighters.

Mission Valley Regional Occupation Program
40230 Laiolo Road, Fremont
(510) 657-1865

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