EMT students gear up for ‘mayhem’

TUEMS partners with Twin Valley EMT Training Center.

Heather Law (left), a freshman biochemistry major, learns to measure blood pressure with Kelly Montgomery, a freshman chemistry major at an EMT class taught by Twin Valley EMT CEO and owner Jennifer Hervey. | MARGO REED TTN

According to Jennifer Hervey, the CEO and owner of Twin Valley EMT Training Center, pink should be every Emergency Medical Technician’s favorite color.

While instructing an EMT class provided by the Temple University Emergency Medical Services and Twin Valley EMT Training Center, Hervey explained to her class of 26 students that pink skin means a patient is in normal condition, rather than blue skin, which means the patient is not breathing.

“It’s one of those classes that are worth taking,” said Heather Law, a freshman biochemistry major currently enrolled in the class.

Some of the students who have completed this course helped during the Amtrak train derailment in May 2015, and others assisted during Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia in September.

“The students who were aiding the victims of the Amtrak train derailment were contacted by me, and the first thing they told me was that if it was not for the mock emergency situations that Twin Valley and Temple EMS created, they would have not been prepared for this type of situation,” Hervey said. “We would create these situations and cause as much mayhem as possible if they would ever have to encounter it.”

After completing this 200-hour hybrid course hosted on Main Campus, each student is eligible to take the Pennsylvania State certification exam, which includes a written exam through the National Registry of EMT’s—that’s the first step to becoming a certified EMT.

Students complete 100 hours of this course online, and the remaining hours are completed in class to learn hands-on skills from instructors, like how to find a patient’s pulse.

“The two agencies TUEMS and Twin Valley EMT Training Center work together for this course,” said Danielle Thor, director of TUEMS and a senior kinesiology major. “The student volunteers that make up TUEMS and cover Main Campus respond to emergency calls and are the group that you could work for by taking this class.”

Once they finish the course and earn their certifications, Thor said about half the students end up working for TUEMS. The other half are usually recent graduates who begin work in the private sector.

“I took this course knowing it would be a great experience for a student like me who plans to attend medical school in the future,” Law said.

But not all students who take this course plan to join the medical field. The class is open to all students during the fall and spring semesters, and it has received students from majors like social work and economics. In the summer, the course is open to the public.

Yanna Savkova, a senior nursing major, is the education officer and field training officer with TUEMS. She teaches alongside Hervey and other TUEMS instructors, and works closely with the students who have been certified.

“I see the drive and the passion from these students to aid other people and as cliché as it sounds, none of us would have wanted to be here if we did not have that,” Savkova said.

Gail Vivar can be reached at gail.vivar@temple.edu.

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