Northwestern Ohio First Responder Training Program

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With a critical shortage of firefighters and paramedics in departments across the country, WTOL 11 is taking a closer look at their need here in our region.

WALBRIDGE, Ohio – There are 150 acres at the Owens Community College Center for Emergency Preparedness where students can get actual training on things like how to deal with a burning car or even burning houses.

Emergency medicine is a booming industry right now, according to program director Matt Phillips.

He said it’s because their job is completely pre-hospital.

“So when someone gets sick before they even get to the hospital, they have to call us,” said Phillips. “So we’re training so we can help them – whether it’s a car accident, whether it’s difficulty breathing, whether it’s COVID. “

Healthcare workers are on the front lines of this pandemic, putting paramedics and paramedics at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. But Phillips explained that doesn’t stop students from wanting to help the community.

“At first I thought it would scare people away. But we haven’t seen a drop in numbers,” he said. “That’s why I’m so happy Owens really stepped forward to make things better.”

Earlier this summer, the Toledo firefighters union sent a clear message to the public that it was “dangerously understaffed”.

The spokesperson for TFRD Pvt. Sterling Rahe said that between more passion for the job, cancer statistics for firefighters and the pandemic, staffing is still an issue in northwest Ohio.

“Most fire departments in our region and beyond are struggling to find qualified candidates,” said Rahe. “They’re taking young girls and young men out of school and hiring them as fast as they can because there just aren’t any qualified people available right now.”

Phillips said officials from surrounding departments contacted him, asking when the students would be ready to join them. He explained that he felt confident in the training they are offering to send them so that they can help the community.

“It’s kind of like a proud father moment. You see someone start at the beginning and mature through all of the semesters and all of the programs,” Phillips said. “Now I know they might come out to save me or my family, which is also important to me.”

Phillips explained that the Center for Emergency Preparedness recently received a short-term grant, allowing them to withdraw $ 2,000 from the total price for a new student; something he said will be of huge benefit in bringing more paramedics to the area.

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