EMT students at Cass Career Center benefit from new ambulance

Cass Career Center EMT students will get even more hands-on learning opportunities as the program now has a working ambulance. The ambulance was purchased using federal GEER II (Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund) grant monies.

CCC EMT instructor David May said, “Most EMT students are taught how to deal with a patient on the scene, but they don’t get a lot of experience with what to do while transporting a patient. This ambulance will allow us to provide that.”

May said that students will be able to get experience working in the back of a moving ambulance with a patient and experience with driving and maintaining the ambulance.

He said, “Possibly the most important part of an EMT’s job in larger departments, when they are working with a paramedic, is to drive the ambulance. They are the drivers on critical, life-threatening calls. Many new EMTs have little to no training in emergency vehicle operations prior to their first job.”

David May is a certified instructor for the Emergency Vehicle Operators Course (EVOC) through the Volunteer Firemen’s Insurance Services (VFIS). He will be able to add this coursework to the EMT program which covers topics involving maintenance of the vehicle, vehicle dynamics, laws governing emergency vehicles, and many other areas of emergency driving.

“It concludes with a course where the students must maintain the vehicle in a straight line, back into a simulated narrow opening, parallel park, and other obstacles where they must demonstrate their ability to control the vehicle. This course is not a high-speed driving course (the max speed is 10 mph) but rather a course to learn how the large vehicles handle turns, where blind spots are, and just how big the vehicle really is,” May explained.

The new ambulance will become part of the students’ daily classwork. They will start each class with “truck checks” which ensure the truck is ready for the day. Truck checks include the mechanical side as well as ensuring it is stocked with supplies.

“The plan is essentially to make the classroom like the workplace. We will start the day with our equipment checks and briefings and then the calls will be over the subject matter for the day. For example, if we are working on cardiology for the day, one of the students who are not ‘on duty’ will be selected to play a patient. I will prep them and give them a script while the equipment checks are being completed. They will then act out their emergency and a group of students will respond to it. The students who do not respond will be taking notes on how the responders did on their assessment, areas they see for improvement, and what the diagnosis of the patient is. Once it is over, we will review the call and explain what the emergency was and the key signs to look for.”

The CCC EMT program is a one-year program for juniors and seniors. Upon completion of the course, students can have the AHA BLS Provider certification (CPR), OSHA 10 for Healthcare, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), NIMS IS-100: Introduction to ICS, IS-200: ISC for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents, IS-700: National Incident Management, an Introduction, and IS-800 National Response Framework, An Introduction.

May said, “Once the course is complete, they can take their National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam for their certification. Once they have that they can apply for their state EMT license, and they are ready to go to work.”

May traveled to Philadelphia to pick up the ambulance over a recent weekend and students got their first look after the MLK holiday.

In addition to the high school students, adults in the CCC’s Community Education EMT evening course taught by May will be able to use the ambulance.

The ambulance is the latest addition to CCC’s public safety program vehicle fleet which includes a fire truck used by the Fire Science program and police cars used by the Criminal Justice/CSI program.