FHS students receive college credits, patient contact hours and professional certification
Through hands-on learning and real-life experiences, Fridley High School students continue to benefit from a partnership between the school’s Emergency Medical Responder/Emergency Medical Technician (EMR/EMT) program and the Fridley Fire Department. FHS students enrolled in the EMR and EMT classes learn directly from experienced firefighters who are currently working in the field of Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
In the EMR and EMT classes, FHS students learn how to deal with a wide array of EMS scenarios, which include patient assessments related to medical and trauma scenarios, such as cardiac arrest, anaphylactic shock, external bleeding, and spinal cord injuries. Working with professional equipment, the trainees are taught skills required in emergency medicine and patient interactions, like airway and oxygen management, back boarding, splinting and bracing, bleeding control, shock management, and the administering of medications. In addition, students learn how these situations influence rescue operations and fire suppression efforts.
EMR/EMT teacher Eric Anderson said the experiences the fire department provides are invaluable to students. “All the hands-on and real-life training helps students to understand the ‘why’ in the educational process,” said Anderson. “Students love the challenges, the excitement, and the varied experience from typical school work. I see many of our students thrive while working through these real-world scenarios.”
The EMR/EMT classes are open to all juniors and seniors. Students enrolled in the program are also concurrently enrolled at Pine Technical Community College, where they can earn up to nine college credits that are transferable to any Minnesota State School system upon graduation. The classes also provide patient contact hours through the University of Minnesota Health Fairview where students experience ride alongs with the Advanced Life Support (ALS) level ambulance service. During the course, students earn healthcare provider-level CPR certification. Following completion of the program, students are eligible to earn their certification as a registered EMR or EMT professional by taking a National Registry EMS exam.
Fire Marshal James Lange said Fridley Fire is proud to be a part of the Fridley High School program. “We provide students with a unique perspective by providing access to our equipment, apparatus and experienced personnel,” said Lange. “In this way, we are able to teach students about EMS and provide valuable insight into the world of public safety. Students get to know what it is really like to work on an emergency scene and we help them to develop the skills necessary to succeed."
Lange said that the Fridley Fire department values the public safety to school partnership and plans to continue giving back to students long term. “The partnership allows us to give back to the community, which has a long history of supporting Fridley Fire and the work we do,” he said. “The students at Fridley High are insightful and truly want to understand and learn these skills. We enjoy being involved in the education of potential EMS professionals who may one day serve the community of Fridley.”
Anderson added that students enrolled in the EMR/EMT courses have a wide variety of career aspirations and are excited to continue their education or begin working as professionals right out of high school.
“Some students begin working as an EMT right after graduation, while others use their experience to succeed in nursing or medical school or enter programs to become a paramedic, law enforcement agent, firefighter, or medic in the armed forces.” he said. “We are proud to offer these pathway opportunities to all Fridley students that allow them to be a step ahead after high school.”