Graduates, along with friends and families, celebrated with a special custom made cake.
by Ann Fowler
Nearly 50 proud relatives and friends showed up at the Oak Hill fire station on Circle Drive to see 11 young men and women graduate from the EMT Academy’s 10th class on Monday, August 20.
Course coordinator Carlene Hale said the students spent Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings in class for the 16-week course. Said Hale, “To have a class on Friday night — I know it should be against the law somewhere.”
The course included three 12-hour shifts with Austin-Travis County EMS medics, plus eight hours in the emergency department of St. David’s Hospital to see the transition from the ambulance to the hospital and learn what happens after patients are dropped off.
The graduates included Lorayne Bond, Brad Brittsan, Elizabeth Carlson, Jesse Fowler, Hunter Garrison, Kendal Keitz, Brian Lieck, Jenna Macik, John Marshall, Ian Miramon and Chris Walls.
Hale said of the graduates, “Most will become firefighters, some will continue in the EMS field and become paramedics. Some will use the training to become wilderness rescue EMTs and some find jobs as hospital techs or continue their education and become nurses.”
Training Chief Robert Hartigan said he does not advertise the classes, as they fill up based solely on word of mouth. He said, “It’s not an easy class. They put a lot of time in.” He told the graduates, “You get a better base knowledge of what you want to get from it. I think it’s going to make you a better EMT or firefighter in the long run because your foundation is set.”
Commander Wes Hopkins, one of the instructors, advised the graduates to pay attention to their patients and treat them with respect. When things don’t add up, he told them to listen to their gut feeling and stop and reassess if necessary. He said, “You guys are going to do great, and I’m here to tell you I will let you work on any of my family members. Thank you for your hard work.”
Hale said the class included more than a thousand pages of reading, with seven module exams each comprised of 100 questions. She told the graduates, “The instructors have seen an amazing growth not only in competence but in confidence. You’ve come a long way.”
She added, “Please don’t forget this class and the ground it broke for you. You’re on your way to becoming medical professionals and I really look forward to following your careers and hope that you come back and see us.”
Each graduate was presented with a course completion certificate and can now take the National Registry exam to become a state-certified Emergency Medical Technician.
Oak Hill offers the 4-month EMT Academy class in addition to a nine-month Fire Academy class. It is the only evening and weekend-run academy in the Austin area.
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