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on May 02, 2017 at 11:07 AM, updated May 02, 2017 at 11:11 AMCLINTON - The dark blue SUV had come to a rest in a parking lot after striking eight pedestrians, pinning one man using a walker underneath the front wheel.
The mass casualty drill held Saturday gave a group of 17 Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad Training Center EMT students, including the three Hunterdon County Polytech students, a chance to try apply their skills in a realistic - and dramatic - situation. While some patients had minor injuries, others were critically-injured, and it was up to the trainees to triage all of them.
The class includes the first three Hunterdon County Polytech high school students to earn high school credits while becoming EMTs. The drill was held at the squad building on Old Highway 22.
For Liam Fleisher, 18, a senior at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Raritan Township and a student at the Polytech, the EMT course was a perfect fit, saying he has wanted to work in emergency services since seventh grade.
"I saw an accident on the side of the road, and I wanted to help out but I couldn't," he said. "I was only 14 at the time." At 16, Fleisher joined the First Responders Club at Hunterdon Central. He is now a certified volunteer firefighter with Flemington Fire Department and a volunteer with the Flemington-Raritan First Aid and Rescue Squad.
"I want to use this certification to help better serve the community, and to provide quality care for everyone who needs it," said Fleisher, who will study fire science at Raritan Valley Community College in the fall. Successful completion of the EMT course will mean he walks in with some college credits in hand.
Taking the Clinton First Aid and Rescue Squad course as a high school student has been a challenging and terrific experience, he said.
"I get to talk to people who have been there, done that, who are very wise," he said. "There are great people ranging in age from teenagers through to one guy in his 50s, and they are just the most amazing people you've ever met. It's like a big family in that class, to be honest with you."
"It was really faced paced, and I did enjoy how realistic it was," said Fleisher, who took on triage, treatment and transport roles during the drill.
He said that thanks to the drill, he is better prepared if he should ever face a similar situation in real life. "I have a much better understanding of what needs to be done and how to handle it."
The squad and the Polytech recently formed the partnership that allows any Hunterdon County high school students to receive high school credits while learning to save lives and earning their EMT certification, according to a news release.
The mock casualty event is "the highlight of the EMT class," said squad Training Lt. Michelle Gardner. "Once you've gone through and learned all the skills that you need, then you get to pull everything together at this drill. It is stressful, but the students also look forward to it. And many of our 'patients' are students from previous classes who have been invited back to participate."
Gardner, after the drill, said: "The mock mass casualty exercise did exactly what we planned - it put our EMT students of all ages in a situation as similar as possible to a real life emergency. I'm delighted with the way they handled it and am so proud of this next generation of EMTs."
Polytech students in the Career Prep and Supervised School-to-Careers programs have the opportunity to enroll in the squad's EMT course. Students who pass course exams and the state exam will become state-certified EMTs, ready for volunteer or career work, it was stated in the release.
This new partnership fits the missions of both the squad and the Polytech. As a career and technical school, the Polytech aims to prepare students for future careers through both education and experience, and there is a growing need for qualified and well-trained certified emergency personnel, according to the news release.
The squad knows about the need for EMTs first-hand. In response to a surge in calls for emergency assistance, the non-profit, volunteer-led squad launched a new volunteer recruitment campaign.
Deputy Chief of EMS Bucky Buchanan hopes some of the young people who are trained through the program enjoy being part of the CFARS family so much that they stay on as volunteers.
"Many of our current volunteers also are career EMTs, or have careers in other medical professions," Buchanan said. "Wherever these students land, I know the skills they learn will allow them to help others - maybe even save a life."
The students still must pass a written exam and a practical exam to successfully complete the EMT course, Gardner said. At that point, they are eligible to sit for either the state or national certification exam.
Both the squad and the Polytech both hope to expand Polytech student EMT course enrollment in the future. Interested students should talk to their high school guidance counselor or call Tanya Nalesnik, student services coordinator, at Polytech at 908-788-1119, ext. 2029.
Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad needs volunteers of all ages, and the EMT course is free for volunteers. Those interested should visit www.JoinClintonEMS.com or call 844-4-Clinton.
Original Story: http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2017/05/future_emts_get_real-world_lessons_in_mock_car_acc.html#incart_river_index