MENTOR, Ohio — The Mentor Fire Department has partnered with Mentor High to create an EMT Academy to train high school students early and help with recruiting.
At Mentor High, students are saving lives and getting ahead in their careers. Alyssa Cruz and Madyson Stauss are both among the first graduating class from the program. Cruz wants to be a doctor and Stauss an EMT, both say the class helped them ahead of their careers.
“We cover stuff like airway management, they get CPR certification throughout the course. Along with shock management, cardiology, pharmacology backporting splinting, transporting. We have gone to dive drills, we've gone to jaws of life, extrication drills,” said Jerry Craddock, the teacher of the EMT academy
Jerry Craddock is a retired fireman that trains high school students over the span of a year, everything they would be taught in EMT training.
“It challenges them physically; it challenges them mentally. And the other thing that's sometimes difficult to teach a stress,” said Craddock.
This class and its training are also helping the Mentor Fire Department recruit.
“It's right now we're a little slow. With recruitment company everything we can to get new applicants in,” said Mentor Deputy Fire Chief, Robert Evans.
Evans says recruitment has been a battle for many departments across the area.
“A lot of kids think they need to go to college for four years in order to get a job that pays well. In our profession, two years with the training, you can have a very good paying job with very good benefits,” said Evans.
So departments are getting creative, utilizing social media, hiring part-timers and even creating school programs like the one at Mentor High.
“This year is the first year for this program. They just graduated their class and I’m expecting a lot of you're going on to the fire training,” said Evans.
The students love the class.
“I definitely didn't realize how much I would have loved this field if I didn't do this right away,” said Cruz.
“The stuff that we learned throughout the years are not stuff you're going to learn anywhere else,” said Strauss.
And so does Craddock, because he gets to teach students about the job he did for 20-plus years.
“It's the world's greatest job. There's no question about it. You ask any firefighter about it. It's the toughest, most challenging job that you'll love for the rest of your career,” said Craddock.
All of the graduates will be heading to more training for their careers. Mentor High says next year's EMT course is already full with a waitlist. If you are interested in being a fireman or an EMT go to the Mentor fire website.
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