Course will allow students to gain EMT certifications

Area high school students will soon have the opportunity to become certified emergency medical technicians.

Blue Ridge Technical Center Director Jane Baker said several Shenandoah Valley high schools teamed up with Lord Fairfax Community College to initiate an EMT dual enrollment course for the 2018-19 school year.

Brenda Byard, LFCC dean of academic student affairs and outreach, said that dual enrollment provides students credits for both high school and college courses. For the EMT course, students will travel to the LFCC campus and be instructed by certified emergency technicians.

She said students will receive 20 credit hours and the class will span the entire school year. If students make it successfully through the course, they will be eligible to take the National Registry of EMTs test and become certified.

Vince McGregor, LFCC EMS program director, said the responsibilities of EMTs include driving ambulances, providing basic care, and delivering patients to the hospital. The course will cover a variety of topics such as detailed patient assessments, anatomy, and physiology.

“Even if the students don’t go anywhere with this, they will have learned information that you can use going forward in your daily life,” he said.

The application period for the course is over, and Baker said 12 students will be accepted from Warren, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Clarke counties. Due to the small class size, it will likely be limited to rising seniors. She said she hopes future iterations of the course will accept more students.

In addition to receiving basic EMT qualifications, students will also have a head start on the credits necessary for an associate of applied science degree in emergency medical services, Byard said. The degree requires 65 credit hours, and the dual enrollment class would knock off a semester of courses.

Baker said the dual enrollment class “is really a win-win situation” for the students. She added that it could also benefit local fire and rescue stations as “the goal is that these students will remain in the area working as EMTs.”

“Fire and rescue programs have been excited to work with us,” she said.

Byard said there has been an abundance of student interest, and agreed with Baker that this could be good for local stations who are lacking personnel.

“This is a high-need area to have trained paramedics and EMT individuals who can ride the ambulances,” she said.

A Warren County Fire and Rescue news release stated that over 70 percent of calls are for medical emergencies and “more EMTs are needed at every fire station in the county.”

Warren County Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Mabie said he is excited that the program will train “young people to serve their communities as emergency responders while they are still in high school. It’s the perfect time in their lives to explore the volunteer fire service and find out what it takes to be committed to something greater than themselves.”