Meridian Technology Center is helping the Perry Fire Department double the number of responders trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), bringing the total to 13.
The department received $38,263 from the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Oklahoma Emergency Response Systems Stabilization and Improvement Revolving Fund (OERSSIRF) to enhance emergency response services to Perry residents. The grant is designated for assessments, reorganizing at-risk departments, training and equipment in rural fire departments.
The Perry Fire Department is comprised of both staffed and volunteer fire fighters. The city’s full-time firefighters are required to have EMT certification. Volunteer fire fighters are required to have Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) certification, which limits the level of care they can provide. The department currently has six EMTs and seven EMRs who serve the community.
A portion of the OERSSIRF grant has been earmarked to provide six of the city’s volunteer firefighters with EMT training and testing. Once EMT certified, the six volunteer firefighters will be able to deliver an advanced level of treatment to residents.
EMRs are trained to provide basic care related to managing a patient’s airway, breathing and circulation in an emergency. They are trained in bandaging and splinting techniques, but they are not approved to care for a patient in the back of an ambulance. EMTs on the other hand have additional medical training and can provide care during emergency transports.
“Our volunteer firefighters are an invaluable part of our department,” said Russell Brand, acting Perry Fire Chief. “They provide critical services that we depend on in emergencies. This additional certification will enable us to better serve residents.”
The EMT program is 230 hours and consists of 182 hours in the classroom and 48 hours in a clinical setting with EMS workers. Training began this January and runs through June, with sessions taking place at the Perry fire department. Participants meet a minimum of eight hours a week. Upon completion of the course, they will be eligible to take the national registry exam to become a licensed EMT. The OERSSIRF grant will cover all expenses for participants.
The commitment of the six students in training can’t be understated, according to Brand.
“They already volunteer their time to help the community. They are taking their service to another level with the EMT training,” he said. “They aren’t getting paid to do this. They do this simply because they want to serve their community.”
Rena Hines, Director of Short-Term Adult Education at Meridian, worked with the department as they prepared the grant.
“This is a progressive move for the Perry Fire Department,” she said of the department’s efforts. “They were forward thinking when putting together the OERSSIRF proposal. They focused on how to make the most impact in their community, and we are excited to a part of the process.”
Learn Locally: Meridian Classes in Perry
As part of the school’s Learn Locally initiative, Meridian also offers a variety of personal and professional development short courses in Perry.
This semester classes include Electric Pressure Cooking, Infant/Child CPR for Friends and Family, Heartsaver CPR/AED, Heartsaver First Aid, Braiding Techniques and Aromatherapy. These courses will be held at 611 Bakehouse. Additionally, there is a monthly lunch-n-learn series that will be held at the Perry Chamber of Commerce. Session topics are Productivity Tips in Outlook 365, Getting Organized with One Note, and 10 Google Apps You Didn’t Know You Needed.
Each semester Meridian offers hundreds of courses on its Stillwater campus, including EMT training. Many of the professional development short courses have classes during both the day and evening hours, and often meet one or two times during the week. If time is a factor, online training is also available.
For a complete listing of this semester’s courses visit www.meridiantech.edu/catalog. If there is a short course that you would like to see offered in Perry, contact Carol Dvorak at firstname.lastname@example.org.