Summer EMT courses challenge students, promote growth

Over the summer several Staples students took EMT classes to pursue a certification. These students are now beginning to volunteer in EMS locations in or around Westport.

Graphic by Maya Hruskar ’23

Over the summer several Staples students took EMT classes to pursue a certification. These students are now beginning to volunteer in EMS locations in or around Westport.

Maya Hruskar ’23 , Paper news editor

Typically when you think of a summer for high school students, you might imagine long days spent at the beach, a first job at an ice cream shop or time spent messing around with friends. For some students, however, their summer was spent learning the intricacies of bodily anatomy, practicing CPR on dummies and spending hours in the ambulance. 

These motivated students had taken on the endeavor of becoming EMT certified, a stepping stone to working or volunteering in an ambulance. 

“I think that made me mature a lot as an adult and made me realize ‘look, okay, you wanna go into pre-med? You’re gonna be doing work while other people are doing fun stuff,”” Analise Vega ’23, a student who took the Greenwich EMT certification course, said. 

Many students chose to take the course as a way of determining what they want to study in college and if they would want to go into a medical career.

I think that made me mature a lot as an adult and made me realize ‘look, okay, you wanna go into pre-med? You’re gonna be doing work while other people are doing fun stuff’ ”

— Analise Vega '23

“What it does is it gives, if you are thinking about going into the medical field […], an idea of if that’s the career that you want to choose,” Dennis Folger, operations manager of Greenwich EMS, said. 

EMT certification is a lengthy process, requiring 120-180 hours of training culminating in a five-part practical and knowledge-based certification exam. Exam stations include, among other things, CPR, bag-valve ventilation and handling patients who’ve been in trauma situations or are experiencing medical issues. 

“A lot of people don’t understand the undertaking that is taking an EMT class,” Tanvi Gorre ’23 a student who took the Easton EMT certification course said. “[…] It takes a lot of effort to get through that class and to come away with the knowledge you need.”

Typically, students from Staples who want to become EMT’s will take the EMT certification course at Westport volunteer EMS and join the youth corps. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, classes at Westport EMS were shut down for the months preceding and during the summer.

“​​I went into doing this alone,” Vega said. “I was in a class with probably mostly college students, if not adults, and it’s kind of a cool experience. It’s the first time I’ve done something completely independently like for myself.”

Connecticut is one of the few states to allow minors to become EMT certified. Once someone is EMT certified, they can work or volunteer in an ambulance.

“The biggest thing we preach in our orientation,” Jason Wein, EMT technician at Greenwich EMS, said, “is that you have to put in the time and effort […] it’s all about time and resources.”