Rising North Hunterdon High School junior Connor Duda and rising North Hunterdon senior Sarah Klepper both say the decision to become a CFARS cadet has led to amazing experiences that have changed their lives.
“I really like emergency medicine, and I like helping people,” said Connor, 17, who joined CFARS last fall. Students as young as 16 can join the CFARS squad and, once certified in CPR, can assist Emergency Medical Technicians on scene and on the ambulance.
“When I go on calls, I get the stretcher out and I lay all the equipment we’ll need on the stretcher,” Connor said. “I can take patient vitals (blood pressure and respiratory rate, for example), and when the EMT is assisting the patient, I’ll hand them things they need. I know that this makes it easier for them – that having me there helps a lot.”
Working with EMTs and assisting patients is preparing him to be an EMT, paramedic, or emergency room physician, all career paths Connor is considering. “Another skill I’ve learned that helps me in day-to-day life is how to better interact with people and make them comfortable,” he said. “You get really good at it.”
Connor completed his EMT class this summer here at Clinton, and has passed his State EMT test.
Sarah has known for years that she wants to be a nurse, and becoming an EMT has provided her a good head start, and solidified for her that she’s chosen the right path. She is currently enrolled in Hunterdon County Polytech’s nursing program, and hopes to study nursing at The College of New Jersey next fall. “One of the reasons I want to go there is so I’m close enough to come back on the weekends and still volunteer with Clinton,” she said.
Connor, who wants a career in emergency medicine, perhaps as an ER doctor, agrees with Sarah that being a CFARS volunteer is a fantastic way to prepare for his future career.
Joining CFARS means committing to serve at least one, four-hour duty shift a week and attend one monthly training skills training session and the CFARS monthly meeting. Both young volunteers note that generates many community service hours, which not only fulfill high school requirements but stand out on college applications. A big benefit they weren’t expecting: Gaining an additional family.
Connor joined soon after moving to this area from Massachusetts. “When I joined, I met a whole new set of people, and I became part of a community,” he said.
“Everyone at the squad is so caring and so generous,” Sarah said. “I ride on Tuesday nights, and I have become best friends with all of my partners. I can’t imagine my life without the squad now.”
Anyone interested in joining CFARS should visit www.joinclintonems.com or call 844-4-Clinton. CFARS and Hunterdon Polytech also have a partnership through which EMT students can earn high school credit. Ask your guidance counselor for more information.