From “What do you want to be when you grow up?” — It’s the big question we all face when we’re young, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Common answers are firefighter or police officer and middle and high school students from the Wausau Boys and Girls Club got the chance to live out that dream on Wednesday.

Kids got to try on a couple different hats for size at the Northcentral Technical College Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill as they went through the training exercises of police, fire, and EMS professionals.

“It’s really fun and it teaches us to be on our feet and be very active,” Tyler Jones, 14 said.

“They’re kind of at that point of ‘what should I do for my career when I get a little bit older?’ And, ‘where should I go to college?’ And things like that are starting to play into their minds, so this gives them an opportunity to see maybe this might be the avenue that they might want to venture into,” said the college’s Public Safety Executive Director Bert Nitzke.

Fourteen-year-old Asia Stalsberg said she’s now thinking of going into the behind the scenes work of public safety.

The hands-on experiences is, of course a great opportunity for all the kids involved, but it’s especially so for the young women.

“This has been a male-dominated field for a long time and seeing more girls come here today and seeing them apply at the fire departments is great because we do need that diversity and it’s just great seeing them out here having fun,” said SAFER Firefighter and EMT Emily Dobeck. “Sometimes it can be very intimidating seeing is how most of the tasks that we perform require strength, but sometimes it comes in handy when you’re smaller.”

Experiences like the one the Boys and Girls Club and NTC provided for the kids may inspire more women to join the field.

If you would like to try some of the college’s hands-on training classes or bring your group to some, you can visit their website here:

From “Dual degree offered at NWTC with new fire medic program” — A new  type of training is being offered at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is exactly what fire departments say they’re looking for.  The program will offer training and real life experience in both fire safety and paramedic fields.

The enrollment window for this program just opened on Friday and the classes are already nearly 60 percent full.  They will feature state of the art technology and dual training that will prepare students for real world scenarios.

“This is going to look like an emergency room department,” says NWTC EMS education coordinator Cal Lintz.  He’s describing what will be the new addition to the tech college.  These changes will be ready for the start of the 2014 fall semester.  Among the changes, new manikins that will be programmed to be more life-like.

“They’ll have all bodily functions that will get the paramedic accustomed to the real out of hospital experience or at least as closely real as possible,” said Lintz.

The program doesn’t end there either.  It will also include fire training.  NWTC will partner will local fire departments to give students a feel for what life’s like on the job.

“Ride on board fire apparatus at the Green Bay Fire Department and experience that live fire ground operation,” said Lintz.

Dual Fire Medic training is extremely important for those looking to become a fire fighter according to Green Bay Metro Fire Chief Brent Elliott.

“Having the ability to provide that aid to people when they’re at their time of need as rapidly as possible is one of the most important missions that we do,” said Chief Elliott.

This dual education will make students more employable since they will be ready to work right after school.

NWTC says they are working to create other partnerships with surrounding fire departments before the start of the new school year.


From “International training” — Luke Edrich was about 4,000 miles from home, but felt right at home at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire last month.

Edrich, a paramedic practitioner from Crawley, Sussex in Great Britain, enrolled in an International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) class at CVTC, reviewing and learning alongside American professional and student paramedics and EMTs.

Because of the ITLS affiliation of the class, the training Edrich received will be accepted by his National Health System employer when he returns.

“It’s very similar,” Edrich said, comparing the training at CVTC to classes he’s had in his home country. “The teachers are excellent. I’ve never had a college-based trauma course back home.”

The training is similar because it’s standardized through the ITLS, a nonprofit organization dedicated to trauma training and education. EMTs and paramedics in 43 countries can demonstrate their competence to their employers through ITLS certification, which verifies training the professionals previously received.

CVTC is the Wisconsin chapter and training center for ITLS, hosting ITLS classes at its Emergency Education Center and providing the training at other locations around the state through its ITLS chapter.

CVTC offers a four-week class in trauma, and such classes are available at many other institutions as well. However, the quality and standards can vary greatly, said Jeff Asher, a CVTC paramedic instructor.

“Employers want some kind of a capstone course where they know what content the student had,” Asher said. “The ITLS class provides that.”

The ITLS chapter at CVTC was established five years ago. Prior to that, emergency response professionals in Wisconsin had to take an ITLS class through a chapter at Riverland Community College in Albert Lea, Minn., or at one sponsored by the Illinois College of Emergency Physicians.

“Between 2008 and now, we’ve trained about 120 a year, both CVTC students and outsiders. Statewide, we’ve trained about 650 people,” Asher said. “Every year, the numbers have been increasing.”

Not all of the people completing the course come to Eau Claire. Classes through the CVTC chapter occur at other ITLS training centers in the Fox River Valley and Madison areas. Part of the course fee for classes in those areas comes back to CVTC.

CVTC attracts participants from out of state, such as a woman from Grand Rapids, Mich., who recently took the class. Edrich was the first international student to complete the course in Eau Claire.

In 2009 Asher travelled to England, where he toured emergency medical services facilities during his visit, during which he met Edrich. Asher returned to England the following year, when he had the opportunity to ride along with Edrich on calls. As a paramedic practitioner, Edrich has a higher level of training than most of his colleagues, comparable to his having a master’s degree in the United States.

Edrich returned Asher’s visit this month, mixing professional development – which included a ride-along with the Hennepin County, Minn., service – with his time as a tourist.

“I was curious how the higher education system works and the training in health care,” Edrich said about his visit.

Edrich found the American system different in many ways from that of his homeland. For instance, in this country ambulance services are more varied and may be provided by local government or private business while in England the national government oversees those services.

However, the work paramedics do, and the standards they must meet, are universal, he said. “There are more basic skills here than we have for paramedics back home,” Edrich said.


From “New MSTC fire tower a safe way for emergency service personnel to learn” — By Karen Madden – GRAND RAPIDS — A new training tool at Mid-State Technical College will allow firefighters to practice basic to complex skills in a safe environment, according to officials.

Members of both career and volunteer fire departments helped design the campus’s new fire tower, said Barb Jascor, MSTC associate dean and fire training coordinator. It was important to the school to get input from fire departments in designing the new tower to make sure it met the needs of all central Wisconsin fire departments, as well as the needs of students.

On Monday, Wisconsin Rapids firefighters trained in the new tower for the first time. Until MSTC built its fire tower, Wisconsin Rapids firefighters traveled to Rome to train on the Rome Fire Department’s tower, Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department Captain Chuck Peters said.

“To be able to have this in our city is such an asset, not only to our department, but to Mid-State, as well,” Peters said.

The caliber of the new tower’s equipment rivals any that Peters has seen. Not only firefighters, but emergency medical technicians and law enforcement officers, will be able to use the tower to practice realistic scenarios in a safe environment, he said.

Rescuers can practice getting a patient down from the building’s third floor, Peters said. A basic medical issue can become much more difficult when EMTs have to get a patient down stairs, he said.

The tower contains two rooms where firefighters can practice putting out live fires, Jascor said. One is larger and can be used to simulate a living room or other large-room fire. A smaller room would be similar to a fire in a bedroom, Jascor said.

The second floor of the tower contains walls that can be moved to create different layouts. The ability to change the floor plan will keep firefighters from getting too accustomed to what they’ll find when they enter the tower for a training exercise, Jascor said.

The three-story tower has multiple doors in each room, window openings and both an inside and outside staircase, allowing many different types of training scenarios, Jascor said. An enclosed ladder on one side of the building is meant to simulate what firefighters would encounter in a silo or some factories.

Pittsville Fire Chief Jerry Minor said his department encounters situations such as the enclosed ladder frequently. Minor, who was a member of the committee that planned the tower, said the ladder is one of the things he asked to be included in the training structure.

“There are a lot of different options with this building,” Minor said. “I think we looked at about every conceivable option we could think of.”

Committee members toured many fire tours, Jascor said. They talked to fire departments and schools about what worked and what didn’t work, she said.

“The project was truly a collaborative effort,” Jascor said.

From “Nicolet College’s EMT’s, Firefighters at High Percentage” — Nicolet College is turning out a new batch of EMTs and state certified firefighters. 25 out of 26 students passed the most recent national certification for Emergency Management Technicians. 17 out of 18 passed the state’s practical firefighting exam. Director of public safety and campus security Jason Goeldner says a new curriculum helped bring in the high passing rates.

“We’ve incorporated an online platform, which is either called a blending or a hybrid learning style. And even though most of the learning takes place in the classroom, through lecture or hands on, we are able to stream online supporting materials – videos, exams, practical sessions in which the students can also learn outside of the classroom.”

Goeldner says high quality instructors are also to thank for the good scores. He says most students will use their certifications to volunteer.

“Many people in the Nicolet district are doing this on a part-time basis to support their communities. There are a small portion that do it full time, mostly on the medical side of it.”

The number of training hours required for EMTs at Nicolet went up significantly this year. Goeldner says he hopes to improve the passing rate even further in the future.


From “FVTC teaches future health care providers with futuristic technology” — By Kristyn Allen – Grand Chute – Fox Valley Technical College unveiled its new Health Simulation and Technology Center on Wednesday.

It’s the first completed project funded by the referendum that passed in April 2012 to expand FVTC.

The three-story, 66,000-square foot facility looks more like a hospital than a classroom, and is designed to give students critical hands-on clinical training.

“Just very impressed with the potential this facility has for developing our new health care providers,” Sharon Schumacher reacted. Schumacher is director of talent development for ThedaCare.

Much of the training is focused on human patient simulators, designed to make students feel like they’re working on an actual human and prepare them for real-life emergencies.

“It is extremely life-like. It’s got pulses in all the places a human being has pulses. You can listen to the heart. You can listen to the lungs. You can listen to their stomach. Their tongue can swell up,” nursing student Daisie Hanson said.

Wednesday, nursing students simulated a patient having heart problems, taking the patient from an ambulance to a hospital room, and doing everything from performing tests to giving the “patient” medicine.

Staff at Fox Valley Tech say cutting-edge technology like this is the new wave in education.

“Almost every major college or university that teaches high-level health care has a simulation lab or they’re developing a simulation lab,” said Robert Sternhagen, coordinator of the Human Patient Simulation.

The $12 million facility also integrates training for law enforcement and occupational therapists, in addition to medical responders and nurses.

From “Firefighters Gain Valuable Training Experience” — A car flips over and the driver can only be rescued by being extricated through the trunk.


A disabled man needs to be rescued from a burning building.


These are all frightening scenarios, but fortunately this is only a drill,and the victims are only plastic mannequins.

Saturday fire crews were able to practice for when these situations could become reality.

“We can accommodate police, fire, EMS, and a whole host of other public opportunities. You can’t get any other hands on training in this area.” says Fire Training director Doug Jennings.

You can’t learn how to fight fires and save lives just through reading a textbook, so that is why Northcentral Technical College hosted Advanced Skill Training Day. It is a way for rescue crews to be able to prepare for the worst.

“This facility up here is great for facilitating hands-on scenarios. Today they aren’t talking about cutting cars, they are actually cutting cars in difficult positions.” Jennings says.

The event was a great way for N.T.C to showcase their brand new training center. After the original one was destroyed, they have been able to get the latest technology.

“Our public safety center was demolished in the tornado a few years ago. We were able to rebuild this complex out here with the help of our president to a fantastic facility.” says Jennings.

Now they are able to provide firefighters a way to practice for the worst, all while learning from each other.

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