DARKE COUNTY – Spirit EMS hosted its first EMT Bootcamp this past summer and have deemed it a success. Plans are already in the making to host another EMT Bootcamp in the summer of 2024.
“The idea behind the boot camp came from losing individuals in EMS,” Spirit EMS Paramedic and EMS Educator Scott Wolf said. “The average age of responders in Ohio is 43 years old. The population is getting older. So the idea was to get young individuals who may be interested in healthcare out into the field and let them see what is available.”
Six high school juniors and seniors participated in the boot camp this year. The students all got certifications in CPR and Stop the Bleed. The boot camp also had presentations from other local agencies, including the Greenville Fire Department, Care Flight, Liberty Township Fire Department, Greenville Township Fire & Rescue, and Joe VanVickle, Chief Investigator for the Darke County Coroner’s Office.
The students also got to drive the emergency vehicle operations course (EVOC).
“We set up the course in our parking lot, and they got to learn everything we normally teach our EMTs coming out of class before they start driving with lights and sirens,” Spirit EMS Director of Employee Communications Carie Pope said.
A graduation was held at the end of the boot camp. Students received their certification for completion of the boot camp, and two students received scholarships for $ 1,000 that they can use to be an EMT anywhere.
“The need for EMTs is real, and we wanted the boot camp to be impactful,” said Spirit EMS President/CEO Brian K. Hathaway. “It was for this reason, as a company, we set aside $2,000 in scholarship funds and awarded it to two upcoming high school seniors.”
Pope shared that Spirit sent her and Wolf to an ambulance service in Lafayette, IN, in the summer of 2022 to prepare for the summer bootcamp.
“Scott and I had the chance to go last year to an EMT bootcamp a friend’s EMS company put on in Lafayette, Indiana,” Pope said. “We had been talking about doing one for a year, so they invited us over. We got our ideas from them and incorporated some of their ideas into ours.”
After the camp ended, the students gave many suggestions on how to improve the experience for next year. Spirit EMS hopes to expand the number of departments that do presentations and get community sponsors for next year’s camp.
Next year’s EMT bootcamp will be July 22-26, 2024.