• Andrew Jeffrey of the Sherwood Park News authored the following article highlighting ESA graduates displaying their skills.  You can view the full article here.

    Saving lives takes practice

    Strathcona County's Emergency Services Academy (ESA) graduates got to show off their skills in a rare scenario for their firefighter and EMT classes.

    On June 1, the 2012 graduating firefighter class of the ESA worked with the new EMT class in a realistic scenario that gave both sides a chance to collaborate with one another. Creating a cross-training lesson that incorporates both sides of the academy working together is a concept that had never been tested at the ESA before.

    The scenario consisted of a drunk driver flipping his car and forcing another vehicle to collide head-on with a third car. Roughly 22 first-year EMT students, graduated firefighters, and firefighters posing as casualties in the vehicles, worked in the scenario.

    "Since all their families are here for graduation from out of town, it's a chance for them to show off something that otherwise their friends or family otherwise wouldn't have gotten to see," ESA firefighter program co-ordinator Terry Butchart said. "Plus we get to bring in the medical people so they can practice some of the skills they're currently in school for in a real-world setting. Instead of sitting in a classroom dealing with a mannequin, they get to work with actual live people right now."

    The realistic scenario is unlike anything the ESA students would have encountered already in their studies. It was made to be as realistic as possible, with real people rather than mannequins trapped in their cars, and the students using tools that would normally be utilized by Strathcona County's actual firefighters.

    "The firefighters are all done their skills, they're graduating and they've learned what they're going to learn," Butchart explained. "As for the EMS students today, we hope they get an appreciation for this inter-operability and co-operation that we have going on here, and they learn how to work with fire and EMS as well. There's a lot of places where they're going to learn how to co-operate with another side, another agency."

    A lesson like this is especially useful considering that many students upon graduation will want to graduate from the opposite side of the academy as well. It also prepares these students for a future of working closely with each field in whichever communities they choose to work in post-graduation.

    "We often find that when students on the fire side are done they often go on to the EMS side of the school and if they start on the EMS, they'll often come to the fire," Butchart said. "We want to give them a chance to see both in action at the same time and maybe some of these medical students will go to the fire program and maybe some of these fire will go on to the medical."

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"I have been fire fighting in Saint John New Brunswick for 6 years now, and wanted to let you know that your mock hiring process is what prepared me for my actual job interview with SJFD...I felt very prepared to start my career after leaving ESA...the chief that did Rope Rescue helped me strive to be on our Technical Rescue Team on the trucks. Thanks again! "
-Adam, Fire 0808