Article by Laura Zaso, class of 2014:
On March 22, 2014, the EMT class of Kellenberg Memorial High School attended the Fire Service Academy in Old Bethpage, for the required extrication class. After completing one-hundred and five hours of the one-hundred and twenty hours the EMT course requires, the students were off to the class everyone was most excited for. At the Fire Service Academy (FSA), the EMT students were able to finally apply the knowledge they had acquired during the first one-hundred and five hours of classroom time. At the site, the class learned how to remove entrapped victims as a result of a motor vehicle accident and how to triage victims in a mass casualty incident, all while maintaining personal safety. As part of the hands-on training, the students learned when to use and how to operate the various tools of the trade, for example the Jaws of Life. Alexandra Burdo was able to learn how to use the Jaws of Life. She said, “There is somethings you can’t learn in the classroom. One of those is using the Jaws of Life, a very important part of appropriately extricating someone from a car. I learned valuable skills and was surrounded by helpful guidance the entire day. I learned a lot that day.”
Fake incidents were staged so that the students could learn how to handle real life situations. Students played victims, while other students were their EMTs. The mass casualty incident that was staged was a train crash, in an actual train car. The students learned how to triage patients and how to treat the patients in very tight quarters. When asked about his experience, Alexander Troso said, “The experience on the train was so exhilarating, because it showed how things move very fast in emergency situations and how our skills can really change a person’s life.” More common situations such as car accidents were also staged. It was the student’s job to get the patient, played by a fellow student, out of the car without causing more injuries. Kevin Glazer, another EMT student said, “The car accident experience gave us real life experience into what we would face during a MVC (motor vehicle collision). The instructors gave us valuable information on what we would experience and what we would be doing inside a car during an extrication. It was so much fun.” When the students were asked, they all agreed that this was one of the best classes of the entire course, because it allowed them to put their skills to the test.
The Kellenberg EMT Class is identical to those given by Nassau County EMS Academies. The program requires dedicated participants who on completion of their training will be able to serve their communities as New York State Certified Emergency Medical Technicians, at various agencies throughout New York. The certification includes trauma management, CPR certification and addressing medical emergencies by being able to administer oxygen and a limited number of medications. Also, additional training in pediatric and obstetrical emergencies was given. EMTs are also knowledgeable in ambulance operations and psychological first aid.
The class at Kellenberg consists of 31 students and three very dedicated instructors, Mr. Paul Ditrano, a Kellenberg teacher, Marcela Loeber and John Cafarella, both Nassau County EMS Academy Instructors. Mr. Ditrano introduced this course to Kellenberg Memorial High School seniors, three years ago. The participation has grown immensely since it’s beginning. Although few High Schools offer this after school elective, many high school seniors, are not only anxious, but willing to serve their communities through their fire departments or local agencies. Many students from other high schools have inquired how to have their schools offer this program. Our local fire departments are always in need of voluntary Emergency Medical Technicians, as well as firefighting volunteers. This program fills a need of all of our community’s fire departments and their emergency needs.
To take this course through Kellenberg, you must be a Kellenberg student and you must be eighteen by the time the state test is given. This is not just any club at Kellenberg. This is a course in which you have to set a lot of time aside for and effort. When joining this class you have to realize the extent of work that gets put into it. Becoming an EMT is no easy feat. You will walk away with a New York State Certification and many other life lessons.