Welcome 25 new EMT’s; KBOCC grant pays for training

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PRACTICAL TEST–A huge group of EMT candidates spent much of the fall and winter in training. There has been a shortage of personnel in local areas recently. Taking their practical testing at Baraga County Memorial hospital are Gabriel Thomas, Jennifer Pittsley (standing), Paul Hommowun (seated), and Lori Lafernier. Paramedic Denise Kraker provided the photos of testing.

by Barry Drue
An area-wide Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) shortage has been alleviated, at least in the near term, with the certification of 25 people after months of classes and recent testing. As many as 38 began twice-weekly testing last Oct. 4, and met monthly for daylong Saturday classes. They also signed on for clinical hours on ambulance runs and at Baraga County Memorial Hospital throughout the fall and winter. After finding few applicants  in recent years the big class was especially appreciated by local EMT services which have been running low on staff. “This is the last huge class since mine in 1989-90,” said Linda Pakkola of Bay Ambulance. “It was about 20 people.” “This was huge for us,” Bay Director Gary Wadaga said. “We are close to crisis in rural EMS. Now we have about 25 spread through Pelkie, Baraga, L’Anse, Aura, Skanee and Covington.” The training was paid through a grant from Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, which made it much easier for many to take the training. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.