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Plans for Educating First Responders Continue

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

The first EMT Basic class offered by KenTenn EMS in collaboration with Four Rivers Career Academy wrapped up in May. An event was held in June to celebrate the inaugural class. What's been happening since celebrations ceased?

To give an update on the graduating class, 9 graduates are finishing ride times with area EMS agencies while self studying in preparation for their National Registry Exam. They do have a year to take their exam. This is a difficult exam, as it should be. These folks will go out and save lives, we want to make sure they are equipped with the proper knowledge to do so, and to do it effectively!

KenTenn EMS Director Kevin Kelley, Class Instructors Joe Smith & Anna Gaskins, 4RCA Principal Donna Frazier, and several county and city officials met today to evaluate details surrounding our First Responders. Discussion occurred on how to utilize students who are local to the KenTenn service area, including policy development for response to calls and payment for their time. Director Kelley informed the group that the service is still awaiting medical bags to store essential medical equipment and supplies, and for several radios to be programmed for the First Responders to communicate with dispatch.

Time was spent reflecting on the inaugural class and changes for classes going forward. COVID threw in some curve balls and challenged students and teachers alike to adapt to unfamiliar technology and learning styles. It was agreed upon that a new text book and testing platform would better prepare future students for the National Registry Exam. A backup location was discussed to ensure skills training could occur in an area that would meet COVID restrictions, should we face those again.

The goal has never been to offer just one class. We're taking what we've learned from this inaugural class, and using it to build a better class for the next set of students to walk through those classroom doors. There will be another EMT Basic class offered for the Spring semester of 2021, and an EMT Advanced class offered in the Fall of 2021. A tentative timeline for the EMT Basic class begins prior to the start of the program:

October 2020 - Accept applications

Early November 2020 - Conduct Interviews

January 2021 - Classes begin, continuing for approx. 20 weeks

We are looking forward to educating many more students who are interested in pursuing a career in emergency medical services, or who simply want to serve their communities as a First Responder. Some incentive funding is anticipated again next year, but will be limited and competitive. Interested parties should begin preparing to pay at least a portion of the class fee up front. If you or someone you know is interested, tell them to follow our social media and stay connected with our website as we continue to finalize all the details.

The idea of a First Responder is that they are the first to arrive on scene, most times beating the ambulance. They can provide basic life support while waiting for KenTenn crew members and assist afterwards where extra help is needed, such as a motor vehicle accident. Having more First Responders available in the service area will improve the overall quality of care KenTenn EMS provides our communities!

If you are an individual or business who might be interested in funding a student's class expense for the Spring 2021 EMT Basic class, please email

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