DRYDEN — Helping other people has always been a goal in life for Dryden High School senior Kevin Harding.
“To a point, you’re helping someone so that it helps their family,” he said. “It’s like you risk your life to save someone else’s life.”
Harding says he’ll get the chance to do that as one of seven high school students taking part in the school’s emergency first responder course Tuesday.
The after-school course, sponsored and taught by members of Dryden Ambulance Inc. and TLC Emergency Medical Services Inc., gives students basic emergency responder lessons that can later be used toward careers in firefighting or becoming an emergency medical technician, said Patrick Brunner, one of the instructors and an EMT with Dryden Ambulance Inc.
Students will learn how to take and monitor blood pressure, how to detect a pulse, determine details of situations at an emergency scene, how to stop bleeding wounds and free blocked airwaves, he said.
At the end of the course, which meets for five hours, twice a week until the end of June, students will take a state exam to become certified first responders.
Shelly Howland, the education division manager and co-manager for operations at Cortland’s TLC Emergency branch, said she hopes this course will help get students interested in becoming first responders and help address a shortage of EMTs and paramedics.
“I’m hoping that the kids that are here are here for the right reasons and want to proceed from here and be our future paramedics,” she said. “Even if they don’t continue on, these certified first responders will have enough knowledge that they could save someone’s life on their own in an emergency.”
Senior Madison Knout said she was taking the course as extra practice to become an EMT, an interest stemming from an internship she took at TLC Emergency Medical Services Inc. She enjoyed the fast-paced nature of responding to emergencies.
She said the course will be useful to be prepared to respond when an emergency happens.
“You’ll never know what you’ll run across,” she said. “I’ve run across people overdosing. I’ve run across people needing medical emergencies at the mall.”
It will also provide useful teaching skills to assist others who may try to help during an emergency but might cause more problems, she said.
Harding, who is a firefighter with Dryden’s Neptune Hose Co., said this course will help him be able to assist people having medical emergencies but to also further his training as a firefighter.
While not sure if he wants to go deeper into the emergency medical response field or firefighting field, he said that taking this course will help him become an EMT, which is required for joining the Ithaca Fire Department, something he’s wanted to do since he was young.
In any event, he’ll get a chance to help people.
“Just being there for somebody in their time of need, that’s what drives me,” Harding said. “Taking this course will be able to help me do that.”