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EMS Junior cadet program gets green light

WINDSOR – They would represent a very special Cadet Corps for Bertie County.

Last week, Emergency Management Services Director Mitch Cooper went before the Bertie County Commissioners at their Nov. 17 meeting and said his office, along with representatives from Bertie High School and Roanoke-Chowan Community College, were seeking the board’s approval to begin a program of teaching Emergency Medical Technician courses at the old Bertie High School.

EMT Basic, Intermediate, and Paramedic courses are already offered at RCCC.

“You see three organizations standing before you that would like to have a partnership to start a (EMS Junior Cadet) program with Bertie High School in conjunction with Roanoke-Chowan Community College to teach high school students the EMT class,” said Cooper.

The group recommended that students could come out after school (around 3:15 p.m.) four days a week on the old Bertie High School campus.

“We’d teach them the EMT class up to the age of 17 by the time they could take the test, and they’d be EMT-certified when they got done with the class and they’d be able to work as a functioning EMT in Bertie or one of the surrounding counties,” Cooper explained. “It’d be a great opportunity for them to go through this training and a big help on their resumes.”

Cooper cited his own experience a dozen years ago as an EMT Cadet back in Lewiston and riding out on calls.

“I’d really like your permission to carry this on and to see this through and make it available,” Cooper said.

Chairman J. Wallace Perry expressed his personal opinion of the plan, calling it a great idea.

“It gets them started in EMS and then when you hire them later up the road you’ve already got your geography right there because they’ll already know Bertie County,” Perry commented.

“We’d like to enroll them and put them on a roster with us as Bertie County Emergency Services to get their tuition paid for,” said Cooper. “They would then attend class on the (old) Bertie High School campus.  It would make them fee-exempt because being with an EMS organization they would be exempt from the state standpoint.”

Commissioner Rick Harrell made a motion for the Emergency Services Department to move forward with this venture in partnership with the other agencies. Vice Chairman Charles Smith seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.