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“we serve staple meals at the fire station,” captain bill west said. “we have chicken-fried steak, homemade mashed potatoes, corn and rolls. Some other staple meals are fried chicken, chicken and noodles and ham and beans. We don’t buy our noodles. We always have homemade noodles. If you don’t know how to cook here, you learn.”

Our last session with the firefighters covered emergency medical services and how to perform them. None of us had any previous experience with first aid, so we were all ready to learn from the pros.

We rotated through three stations to learn more about the treatment and transport of people in crisis health situations which could be life-threatening. Emergency medical support is applied in a wide variety of situations, from car accidents to drownings to heart attacks.

EMS is staffed by trained medical professionals called emergency medical technicians.

The rules of EMS operations vary widely according to the state in which they’re located.Line duty

We learned the three levels of EMS included the emergency medical technician, the advanced emergency medical technician and the paramedic or medic.

During our first station, we learned from capt. West about airways and the different techniques used to perform one successfully. We learned everything from basic airways to advanced airways. It was a lot harder than it looked and took great concentration to master.

“my favorite station tonight was the airways,” klumpe said. “I’m really good at intubating people — I got it on the first try at least four times. It made me think that maybe EMS is a field I could go to or a field I could see myself doing. It would help set me on my career path.

“ultimately, I would like to be a police officer. I want to work in law enforcement somehow — if that’s EMS, fire, police — any way I can do it.”

Our second station involved accessing a vein not only for an IV, but for administering medications.Emergency medical firefighters and aemts ben lienemann and richard johnson demonstrated the different ways to do this. There were a few options for tapping a vein or administering medication: a simple IV could administer fluids, or a port could allow medications to be administered.

In extreme situations, we learned the fastest, guaranteed way to administer medications is through a bone drill IV. Many of us had never heard of this before, but learned this method is used for code blue patients who had no pulse and were not breathing. It could also be used for dehydrated, diabetic or unconscious patients.

During our third station, we learned about all things cardiac with paramedic jen kimberlin, who also teaches EMS at flint hills technical college. Kimberlin gave us an overview of the lifepak 15 monitor/defibrillator and how it works. She demonstrated the art of giving chest compressions so if we ever needed to, we would know how.Chest compressions

“the two things to remember when dealing with cardiac patients is giving good chest compressions and early defibrillation,” kimberlin said. “the earlier you start giving compressions, the better the chance of survival.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to push myself outside my comfort zone already and it’s only been four weeks,” she said. “I get to learn about every single thing that I’m looking into, career-wise. It’s just been fun. I’m making new friends and learning more about what our public officials do. I’m learning how much our law enforcement officers and firefighters actually go through in the line of duty. I give them so much praise now that I’ve learned about their careers.”

As our sessions with the firefighters and paramedics came to an end thursday night, I came away with a much deeper appreciation of what they go through in the line of duty. They deal with so much adversity and put their lives on the line every day for us.Chest compressions

While I’m in no hurry to ever put on turnout gear again, I’m sad this part of the academy is over. I certainly have a greater respect for these individuals who come to our rescue in times of need.