Haywood County EMS Teaching EMR Class At HHS

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Haywood County EMS is working in conjunction with Haywood County Schools and is now teaching an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) class at Haywood High School.

Critical Care Paramedic Dustin McKeel, an eight-year veteran of the Haywood County Ambulance Authority, came up with the idea to try and increase student interest in the emergency services field. “I thought it would be an excellent way to increase interest in high school students, and it would also help them prepare for EMT school by providing them with a knowledge foundation,” said McKeel. “The students who complete the course and get their license will be able to volunteer and make calls in the community, which will also help them better prepare for continuing their education and beginning a career path.”

“We have a goal here, and that’s to have hometown people working at the Haywood County Ambulance Authority,” said Director David Smith, who has served as a paramedic for the last 25 years. “This is the perfect opportunity to increase interest in local students, and will hopefully help us meet our goal.”

McKeel serves as head instructor, and Director Smith is also an instructor – both are also instructors at Jackson State Community College. Classes are set on a block schedule, so students meet 2-3 times per week for 2 hours in Mrs. Julie Taylor’s class. They will complete the end of the 60-hour course at the end of the semester. A new class will begin in January, and Director Smith said he hopes there is enough continued student interest so that they can provide the course to students for years to come. There are currently 10 students enrolled in the pilot class, but student interest for the second class is increasing.

“They will be learning about medical emergencies, OB emergencies, patient assessment, airway management and CPR, among other things,” said Director Smith. “These skills will give them an advantage if they pursue a career in emergency services.” Students taking the EMR class also have the opportunity to ride-along with crews at the Haywood County Ambulance Authority.

Pam Diebold, Director of the Career and Technical Education Division at Haywood High, said, “I worked with the State Department, and was thrilled to be able to have the Ambulance Service come in and teach this class at the high school. I feel that it is a great opportunity for the students and Haywood County. This class gets them one step closer to a career they can pursue after graduation.”

Director Smith stated he is working on getting TCAT to offer the EMT program at the Brownsville Campus, which he feels would be a huge benefit to Haywood County. “We strive to serve our community in the best way possible,” said Director Smith, “and we would like to thank all of those who worked with us to get this program off the ground.”

Article and Photos By Jennifer Willis

Brownsville States-Graphic

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