The EMT class arrives at Kings Mountain High School.

A new class at Kings Mountain High School aims to introduce young people to a career in emergency services.

With the start of the 2022-23 school year, Kings Mountain High School will offer an EMT class for seniors. Students who complete the course will be able to test and potentially earn their basic EMT certification.

The course is offered through a partnership between the high school, Cleveland County Emergency Services, and Cleveland Community College.

“This will be the first of its kind in Cleveland County. We have 13 seniors enrolled,” said Dustin Morehead, principal of Kings Mountain High School.

Paramedic Instructor Gary Green, EMT Instructor Shawna George, Fire Coordinator Les George and Public Safety Coordinator Mark Doerfler inside a new ambulance simulator at Middle Career and Technology Centers -East.

“The purpose of the class is to raise awareness of the field we are in. Right now there is a shortage of people for everyone,” said Tommy McNeilly, EMS director for Cleveland County.

Morehead said the school began considering adding an EMT program to its offerings earlier this year, with the goal of helping students who already volunteer with emergency services get into full-time employment.

“We have 1,200 children, and I can think of several who volunteer for firefighters and rescue teams. I thought it might be a good thing for them to be exposed to this, maybe from find a job,” he said. “Obviously our community needs emergency response workers. I think a lot of people are looking for workers, and they’re no exception.”

The course will be taught by David Trammel, former director of operations for the now closed Shelby Rescue Squad.

According to McNeilly, the course is divided into two parts. The first focuses on general practices as an EMT. The second part of the course focuses on general care, trauma management, airway maneuvers, oxygen administration, and similar tasks.

Morehead said students who complete the course will be able to quickly access a college program to complete their paramedic certification. Alternatively, McNeilly said the EMT certification students earn will allow them to start working right out of school.

“They will be able to come and work for us or anywhere else in the state,” he said.

For students who aren’t interested in working as a paramedic or paramedic, but who hope to pursue a career in a medical field, McNeilly said the course can provide valuable skills.

“I think it provides a good knowledge base for any field. It lets you know what to do in an emergency,” he said. “Most schools in North Carolina will give you preferential treatment for entry if you have your EMT. We have a person working with us right now who has just entered Spartanburg Medical School and we We have two others who I think are going to PA at school right now and it has definitely helped them get to school.”

McNeilly said the class is being piloted at Kings Mountain High School, but if there is interest from other schools, it could be rolled out across the district.

Donald E. Patel