More classes added for next year
Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) classes were offered for the first time this year. Two EMR classes, offered first quarter, had 48 students. The EMT class, which spanned second and third quarters, had 19 students.
After finishing the EMT class, students who are 18 can take the National Registry exam to become certified.
Next year there will be 85 to 90 students taking the EMR class, according to physical education teacher Paul Kendrick. Two classes are scheduled for the fall and one for the spring.
Kendrick, who served on the Scandia Fire Department for 22 years, said Forest Lake High School has a large number of students interested in fire fighting, police force and nursing careers, so these college-level classes are in high demand.
“I had a real captive audience,” he said. “The kids became close.”
In addition to class time, the students rode along with North Ambulance drivers, visited fire halls, rappelled off a tower in White Bear Lake and used simulation labs at Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming.
Kendrick was assisted by a teaching team that included other EMTs, paramedics, and a nurse who is a cardiac perfusionist, someone who assists with cardiopulmonary bypass procedures.
A medical doctor served as the program advisor.
High schools in Osseo and Spring Lake Park invited the students to an EMT training camp in Wisconsin.
“The team of professionals I worked with went above and beyond,” Kendrick said. “North Ambulance took a risk doing this, but the kids stepped up. They were outstanding. Our kids are welcome back next year with open arms.”
Kendrick said former school board member Joe Grafft was a major force getting the program adopted, and Superintendent Linda Madsen was very supportive.
Grafft served as emergency medical services manager for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and Metropolitan State University, and was also director of emergency medical services for District Memorial Hospital. In 2005 he started a business, Customized Safety Training, offering emergency medical service and law enforcement education.
He started the pilot high school emergency services program in Spring Lake Park in the 1970s.