Twenty-four students at the Estevan Comprehensive School (ECS) are learning more about the work of first responders in the community.
Emergency services response training 10 is being offered at ECS for the first time this semester. It has been offered in Weyburn for the past couple of years, and has also happened elsewhere in the province.
“What students are going to be doing is learning about all of the different emergency services that are typically offered in municipalities and in Canada,” said teacher Mark Kroeker.
When he heard that it was something that could be offered at ECS, Kroeker, who typically teaches welding and machining, thought it was a fantastic opportunity for the students at the school.
About half of the students are in Grade 12, and the rest are in Grades 10 and 11.
Already the youths have had a couple of guest instructors, as Fire Chief Dale Feser of the Estevan Fire Rescue Service and Deputy Police Chief Murray Cowan of the Estevan Police Service spoke to the kids on Feb. 6.
Kroeker has also spoken with Sgt. Jeff Clarke of the Estevan RCMP detachment to get him in to speak, and Kroeker would like to have the Emergency Medical Services in Estevan address the class as well.
“It’s actually a very hands-on class. Part of the curriculum is actually quite clear that the students are to get hands-on experience in all of the different emergency services, which makes it quite a bit of a logistic thing for me, making sure I’m always planning that kind of stuff,” said Kroeker.
With the fire department, students will have to work with the firefighters to extinguish a small controlled burn, and they will have to be able to put on the personal protective equipment and the self-contained breathing apparatus used by firefighters. They also get to learn how to extract someone from a vehicle.
Each student will also have to do a two-hour to three-hour ride along with a member of the Estevan Police Service or the Estevan RCMP.
He is trying to figure out a way to get EMS involved, but Kroeker suggested a tour of the ambulance bay.
“As much hands-on stuff that we can get with these students, the better,” he said.
Other agencies that he would like to see involved are the STARS Air Ambulance to talk to the students about what that organization is all about, and even the Canada Border Services Agency, which would be unique to Estevan due to the city’s proximity to the Canada-U.S. border.
“I want the kids to have as many experiences (as possible),” said Kroeker.
In order to pass the class, students also have to get their first aid level C, with knowledge of how to use an automated external defibrillator.
Kroeker hopes the class will give students a greater appreciation for what these men and women do for the community, and he hopes it could also steer some of them into one of those career paths.
“Some of them may be bound for university, because a lot of them want to become nurses. We even have a couple of the students who want to be doctors. So it will definitely be a good experience for them,” said Kroeker.
Different emergency services are going out of their way to help the students with everything, too, he said.
Kroeker hopes the course can be offered each semester for the 2020-21 school year.