Updated: Jul 15, 2021
Seeing a need for additional First Responders to provide better service to KenTenn communities, an EMT Basic Class was offered. KenTenn EMS, in collaboration with the Four Rivers Career Academy facilitated a 16 week program spanning during the months of February to May. Students met for 3 hours on Monday and Thursday nights each week. The class proved to be a learning experience for many and required students to adapt to a variety of instruction during restrictions from COVID19.
Initial funding was possible thanks to the New Skills for Youth Grant and local governments sponsoring students. The grant, awarded to Four Rivers Career Academy, allowed the school to purchase books and supporting supplies for the program. Sponsorships were provided by the Fulton Co. Fiscal Court, City of Fulton, and South Fulton Fire Department in exchange for future service as First Responders to their communities. There were also three firefighters who joined the program from Martin Fire/Rescue/EMS.
Graduates, family, friends, and local officials were treated to refreshments during the graduation celebration on Monday, June 22, 2020. The event was catered by Fancy Fannie's Bakery located in Fulton. The cake featured the Sign of Life commonly recognized by Emergency Medical Professionals.
KenTenn EMS Director Kevin Kelley spoke how the program came to fruition. This was a collaborative project that would not have been possible if it weren't for the work and funding shared between agencies. His vision is to form the KenTenn EMS First Responder Association to offer greater numbers of trained personnel to the community. In doing so, First Responders can assist with mass casualties and high call volume to improve the overall quality of care the service provides.
Class instructors Anna Gaskins, Program Director for Air Evac 143 out of Troy, TN and Joe Smith, full-time Firefighter/Paramedic with Martin Fire/Rescue/EMS were present to congratulate students on their achievement and award their certificates and plaques.
Gaskins spoke of the hurdles the program faced, instructors and students alike. Due to COVID19, instruction was moved to an online platform. Students lacked hands on training that would have occurred in a normal classroom setting for several weeks. They were then thrown into the fire of all skills training at the end of the program when restrictions had eased. All students were easy going, and while the changes proved to be challenging, they remained diligent and committed to the program.
Mike Gunn (left), City Manager of Fulton, who has over 20 years of experience in Municipal Fire & EMS, assisted with skills training throughout the program. On Monday, he shared his word of advice with graduates. He encouraged them to keep a diary to reflect back to in the later years of their careers. Gunn announced the graduates as they came up to receive their certificates.
Graduate Crystal Brandon, South Fulton Fire Department Volunteer
Graduate Abner Chilson, Fulton Fire Department Volunteer
Graduate Kory Green, full-time firefighter for Martin Fire/Rescue/EMS
Graduate Rebecca Hamilton, South Fulton Fire Department Volunteer
Graduate Demarchio D. Lee, full-time firefighter for Martin Fire/Rescue/EMS
Graduate Shaw Logan, full-time firefighter for Martin Fire/Rescue/EMS
Graduate Martha Newton, Fulton Co. Deputy Coroner
Graduate Charles D. Taylor, full-time Firefighter & Lieutenant for South Fulton Fire Dept
Graduates with class instructors, KenTenn EMS Director, and KenTenn EMS Medical Director Dr. James Fisette (on right). Fisette also served as the Medical Director for the Inaugural EMT Basic Program.
South Fulton City Manager, Johnny Bacon (left), and Fire Chief, Dennis Pittman, pictured with South Fulton Fire Department personnel.
Martin Fire Chief, Jamie Summers, pictured with Martin Fire/Rescue/EMS personnel.
Fulton Fire Chief, Terry Rudolph (left), Abner Chilson, and Mike Gunn.
Pictured below is graduate Christopher Bradshaw who was sponsored by the Fulton Co. Fiscal Court. Bradshaw has been a member of the Fulton County Rescue Squad for a little over a year, and has recently begun serving as a volunteer firefighter with the Cayce Fire Department.
Due to COVID19, National Registry Exams have been put on hold. Students have received reciprocity for one year after the completion of the class which allows them to begin practicing as EMT's while waiting for testing to resume. During that time frame, students must pass the National Registry to maintain their certification as Basic Emergency Medical Technicians.
Be prepared to see a few of these faces serving as First Responders in the KenTenn area!
It is the intention of the service to provide another EMT Basic Class in the Spring of 2021. Later in the Fall of 2021, we anticipate to have enough EMT Basic students to offer an EMT Advanced Program. Follow KenTenn EMS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as visit our website for updates.