By Lori Szepelak
SPRINGFIELD – “Vladimir,” a 6’6” medical mannequin, is a vital member of the new EMT Academy: Elite Medic Training, which was on display at an open house on Oct. 29.
The afternoon event showcased the expansion of National Ambulance and Albany Street Auto and celebrated the inauguration of its new academy. Following a ribbon cutting at 3:45 p.m. with Mayor Dominic Sarno, guests were treated to tours of National Ambulance, Albany Street Auto, and the EMT Academy. Co-owners of the three businesses, Kirill Adzigirey and Advey Adzigirey, were on hand for the festivities.
“Over the past eight years National Ambulance has continued to see tremendous growth and we are honored to serve the needs of so many Western Mass residents,” Dave Malloy, business development director, said. “Many people do not associate auto repair with ambulance service, but when we found how difficult it was to maintain our vehicles we realized others with large-sized fleets were frustrated as well.”
Malloy added that the company “answered our struggle and many others in the region” by opening Albany Street Auto in 2012.
“National Ambulance and Albany Street Auto have seen steady growth over the last year,” he said, noting that is when the two organizations realized another tremendous need in the region.
Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Malloy said that jobs for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are projected to grow faster than any other profession between now and 2018. Much of the growth is attributed to an expansion in health care related jobs due to the aging baby boomer population.
“This was when EMT Academy was developed,” Malloy said.
David Spafford, an EMT for 25 years and a paramedic for 18 years, is program director of the academy. He has spent the past year developing the curriculum and will soon graduate the first class of 10 students.
Spafford noted during the open house that what sets the new academy apart from others is his extensive experience in the field.
“I’m also on the road so hands-on experience allows me a unique perspective to train students,” he said.
Spafford added that the academy training also allows students actual time working with an ambulance team, as well as observing in area emergency rooms during clinical rotations.
“It’s the real world experience that sets us apart,” he said.
“Vladimir” is used for multiple training exercises, including IV access, intubation, chest needle decompression and defibrillation. Also, students can practice needle chricothyroid or quick trach insertion as well as manipulating his vocal cords to simulate difficult airway access.
Spafford noted that individuals seeking fulfilling careers should consider becoming an EMT, and then furthering their studies since there is growth potential into several fields including paramedics, nursing, respiratory therapy, police, fire, homeland security, and the FBI.
The EMT class is an accelerated course with 40 chapters being covered in 20 weeks. Students must be committed to studying and take initiative to complete assignments. Course instruction includes anatomy and physiology, patient assessment survey and triage, airway management, oxygen therapy, treatment of shock, and bleeding control. In addition, students will learn automated external defibrillator operations, and be given an introduction to pharmacology. Fractures, spinal injuries, cardiac arrest, and various other medical emergencies are also reviewed as part of the curriculum.
Applications for the winter/spring class must be turned in by Dec. 15 with course introduction and orientation slated Jan. 2. Classes are conducted Tuesdays from 6 to 10 p.m., Thursdays from 6 to 10 p.m., and one Saturday per month from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The course, set in a state of the art classroom with lab facilities at National Ambulance, prepares students for the Massachusetts EMT certification testing. Spafford noted that 100 percent attendance is required to successfully complete the course, as well as sustaining a 70 percent grade requirement.
Academy tuition is $950 and course materials are $168. In addition, there are separate fees for NREMT Cognitive Testing ($70) and the Massachusetts State Certification ($150). A payment plan is available.
For more information, call 734-9119 or visit www.emtacademy.org