Classes offered in emergency rescue

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

WINTON – Fred Curley, EMS and Fire Coordinator and Robert Williams, Dean for Continuing Education and Workforce Development at Roanoke-Chowan Community College, recently collaborated efforts for the organization of an EMS and Fire Rescue training event that took place this past Saturday at Shoups Landing and Chowan River Resort in Winton.

The 20 students presently enrolled in the EMT/Fire Rescue classes at the college volunteered to give up their holiday weekend to learn and train under the guidance of three certified instructors from Elizabeth City.

The class required students to attend two days of training, four hours on Wednesday and eight hours on Saturday totaling 12 hours. Taught by certified instructors, Steve Vaughan, Harold Thach and Kathy Lassiter, the class was designed to challenge students with real life situations involving elements of water rescue.

Instructors take the students into the river and demonstrate techniques of water rescue and special circumstances they may face.

&uot;The purpose of the training is to educate and prepare future rescue workers and volunteers for the things they may encounter in the field,&uot; said Vaughan.

&uot;Between 1977 and 1998, 60 emergency personnel drowned, nationwide.&uot; Vaughan continued, &uot;Since then, one to three fire fighters per year have been lost to water related incidents, whether it be a rescue involving an automobile submerged in water or an overturned boat.

Sadly, a lot of these fatalities happen during training, which is why we are trying to establish more and better guidelines and increase awareness as far as planning, equipment, spinal injuries and weather related circumstances. Many people don’t know that it only takes 20 to 60 seconds for someone to drown. Our goal is to train and equip emergency personnel with the most up to date and accurate information to prevent potential accidents, injuries or fatalities,&uot; said Vaughan.

Winton Fire Chief, James Broglin stated, &uot;We had three rescues this summer alone involving boaters and people operating jet skis.

Fortunately, all were found and in good shape.&uot;

Curley, a 30-year veteran Fire and Rescue worker and 13-year experienced paramedic, is now a full-time instructor of Fire and Rescue at RCCC.

He also acts as coordinator for training events such as these.

&uot;There are three departments of Fire and Rescue involved in this training exercise; Murfreesboro, Winton and Como,&uot; explained Curley. &uot;We all work together to ensure the success of the program offered through the college because we want our emergency personnel to have the best training possible.&uot;

He continued, &uot;One of the ways we do that is by calling in certified instructors.

The advantage is that students participating in the class receive certifications upon successful completion of the course as opposed to just credits on a transcript, which makes the class practically applicable in every sense of the word.&uot;

According to Curley, planning for training events can be very involved.

&uot;After determining the type of training needed, a list of qualified instructors is consulted for contact to invite them in for a training session.

&uot;We then coordinate with chiefs of the various EMS/Fire departments to determine and secure a location for the class to be held.

The whole process can be rather lengthy with preparation time ranging from several hours to several weeks, but it’s all worth it in the end.&uot;

Curley commended the participants of the program saying, &uot;Of all the people here today, none of them are being paid.

They are all volunteers with a true desire to be here.

They know in the importance of these skills for serving the community and whether it is 10 degrees below zero or scorching heat, they’ll be out here.

That’s commitment.

We even had volunteers from the Winton Fire Department that supplied and served meals and refreshments for everyone that participated.

The volunteers in this area are truly remarkable.&uot;

Williams emphasized the importance of community awareness about the EMS/Fire Rescue classes being offered in order to generate a greater interest and participation. &uot;We are hoping that by making the public aware of the opportunities available to them through these programs, more people will take advantage of them,&uot; said Williams.

&uot;Our desire is to provide a quality education coupled with hands on training for those who desire to broaden their spectrum of knowledge and serve the communities in which they live in a positive and productive way,&uot; Williams continued. &uot;We hope that this will encourage people who have been contemplating this area of service to put those thoughts into action and review what RCCC has to offer.&uot;

The college has also added nine more classes to their curriculum available between now and January.

Among the topics for study is an Introduction to Terrorism training class dealing with issues of chemical and biological weapons and explosives.

&uot;We hope we are never faced with a terrorist situation, but with all that is happening around the world, it’s better to be prepared than be unable to help when and if the need arises,&uot; said Curley.

According to Curly, next year will initiate the first Annual EMS and Fire Rescue Training School.

&uot;We used to travel to other locations that sponsored the training school, but next year we will be hosting our own,&uot; said Curley. &uot;We are hoping to have 10 instructors covering 10 different topics.&uot;

The training will be in the form of a two-day seminar at RCCC and is tentatively scheduled to take place February 7-8, 2004.

The Hertford County Fire Fighter’s Association in cooperation with RCCC and Area Fire and Rescue Coordinator for the Northeast Region, Phil Batts, are responsible for the organization of this project.

Efforts to finalize details of the event are currently underway.

For information concerning the seminar, contact Chris Smith at 252-209-9012. For more information about registering for EMS and Fire Rescue Training classes offered through RCCC contact Williams at 252-862-1267.