VERMILLION COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Experts say there is a serious need for more trained EMTs in rural Hoosier communities. Now a new class is enlisting Vermillion county high school seniors to fill the gap.
The emergency medical technician course is being offered for the first time through the Wabash River Career and Technical Education District. Seven students are enrolled in the class representing North and South Vermillion high schools. The class is taught each day for two hours at North Vermillion. These students could become the next generation of first responders.
Illiana EMS Director and class instructor Eric Shaughnessy says, "EMTs and paramedics are hard to find and work in rural communities because typically big cities pay better so people go out there and do it. So our focus is to train high school seniors so when they graduate and they get their state license as an EMT they'll be able to work locally and stay locally so we can keep people here."
According to the State Department of Health, trauma remains the number one killer of people under age forty-five. The students in this class will learn how to respond to those cases through classroom lessons and hands-on experience.
Shaughnessy says, "During the classroom time we'll do hands-on skills also but they will do an internship at the hospital with 24 hours shadowing in the emergency department and then they'll do at least 24 to 48 hours of time on an ambulance, actually ride along with the ambulance crew doing the job."
North Senior Cierre Cheuvront says, "I think that'll be so much fun and just see what they do on a day-to-day basis."
Internships and ride-alongs start after Winter Break but students are already getting some practical training.
Cheuvront says, "We learned CPR just this week. Like in a week we learned how to do it."
After students complete the year-long course they'll be ready to take a written exam and skills test so they can get their license.
Shaughnessy says he hopes to grow the program and include students from Parke, Fountain, and Warren counties.