GREENVILLE — Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC), in Clayton, Ohio, has added Versailles Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as a new clinical site for its Firefighter/EMS and Paramedic programs.
Versailles EMS Director and Paramedic Matthew Harvey said that while Versailles has been involved with other schools, this is its first collaboration with MVCTC.
“It allows the students in their programs to come here and get field experience and see what the streets are like,” Harvey said.
According to MVCTC Public Safety Coordinator Tony Stringer, the MVCTC Paramedic program has about 20 clinical sites and the EMT Program has close to 100. Versailles takes both. EMT students are required to have 20 clinical hours and the Paramedic students have more than 300, Stringer said.
“Versailles is a good fit, because although they may be small, they are a very progressive department,” Stringer said. “It will be a good exposure for them. They can study, catch a run or two and have access to the paramedic instructor if they have questions. We actually use their personnel to oversee the students,” Stringer said. “They evaluate them and give us feedback.”
Some of the clinical hours include: reading, homework, learning the trucks, going out on runs, standard operating procedures and learning what is expected of them.
“It is not for everybody that is for sure,” Harvey said. “It is tough being a paramedic because of the number of hours, and the amount of material you have to learn. We have to be experts in cardiology, pharmacology, trauma and we are basically on our own. Of course we can call doctors for direction, and that takes time. If you are laying there having a heart attack, you don’t want us to be on the phone saying, ‘Hey doc, what do i do?’”
Harvey started as a volunteer firefighter at Anna, where he was chief for one-and-one-half years and is on his 11th year running fires there. He went on to earn his EMT and then onto a paramedic and teaches on the side. He puts in about 60-70 hours in a normal week. But some days can run into the next, without much sleep or food.
“I just love it,” he said. “I have always been this way. I always played with fire trucks and police cars. All of my Legos were the police station, the hospital and the fire station. And apparently, I went around the house carrying fire trucks around making siren noises growing up. I think it was inevitable.”
MVCTC Adult Education Supervisor Amy Leedy has been working at the school for more than 30 years. In all that time, MVCTC has offered some aspect of public safety, she said.
“There are only about three states organized like us as far as education,” she said. “We are a career center that has 27 school districts that feed into us, and Versailles is one of them. For those 27 school districts, we have 1,000 juniors and 1,000 seniors that come here. The juniors and seniors in the Fire/EMS Program are typically 25 juniors and 25 seniors. We like to see a bridge from that coming into our Paramedic Program on the adult education side.”
“In addition, many people work here part-time and come here with a passion in their fields,” Leedy said. “That is true about our EMS and Paramedic instructors. They know it’s a life and death situation and they try to give back to the profession, here, and keep those standards very high.”
“This is the most rewarding career you can be in – to help somebody else and know they can’t repay you,” Harvey said. “They can say ‘Thank you’, but when you actually save someone’s life, they are not going to be able to save your life in return. That is why I got into the teaching side, to pass my knowledge onto the next generation – what little I know.”
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