Being an EMT isn't something you learn how to do overnight. It takes life-saving knowledge and commitment to serve your community.
HEMSI, the ambulance service in Madison County, started an in-house EMT program to prepare young adults for a career in Emergency Medical Services.
For Amber-Le and Erica, being an EMT is what they call, their dream job.
"You see it in movies, but seeing it in real life, it’s special I guess," said Amber-Le Smith, a student in the EMS Academy.
Erica Piell, another student in the academy, agreeing with Smith.
"Now I’ve got the opportunity to pursue my dream career with this program, without the burden of college loans," said Piell.
A 10-week hands-on program with clinical rotations, labs, and lectures.
"During labs is where they can actually apply the hands-on skills that they’ve learned, so they can actually manage a person having a medical or traumatic emergency," said Bruce Swanson, the EMS Academy Coordinator.
Dea Calce, the Chief Operations Officer for HEMSI, said the idea for the academy came from a program in Philadelphia, called the Freedom House. The original program was started in a minority neighborhood, struggling to find ambulance services to fill the need,
"We kind of wanted to mimic that, to give a chance to those people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged or maybe recently displaced workers, who never had a chance to go to community college for an EMT program," said Calce.
The program, free to students. In fact, students get paid during the program and have a short obligation to work at HEMSI following the academy.
"We've definitely had those staffing challenges, so this is going to help us meet those needs so we can get our number of EMTs up," said Calce.
Amber-Le and her peers are gearing up for their exam. Once they pass, they'll get a National Registry Certification and apply for their state license.
"You can do it on a mannequin all day long, but when you actually do it on a real person, I don’t know it kind of just makes it click," said Smith.
The first EMT Academy ends next week. The next academy will start in September. You can apply, here.