Safety Training Partnership with North Idaho College (City of Coeur d'Alene)
Friday, June 17, 2016
Posted by: Gay Dawn Oyler
What began as a program to teach as many Coeur d’Alene residents as possible Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid has grown into one of the best, most successful public safety partnerships in the State. The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department and North Idaho College (NIC) started a program that has become the clearing house for safety training in North Idaho. The program—with the Fire Department providing the instructors and NIC providing the facilities—has far exceeded expectations. It grew very quickly and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course also started with the same arrangement. This program has a waiting list of students every quarter and has been wildly successful. Members of NIC and Fire Department staff discussed the need for firefighter training and the lack of opportunities for the youth in our region to gain the experience and move into a career in the fire service. From those discussions was born the Firefighter 1 Academy. This program trains students the basics in firefighting and prepares them for their career. "Partnered with the EMT program, we have seen a number of our students move into careers with local departments, which was our goal," said Fire Chief Kenny Gabriel.
In its inception, the goal of the program was to get a minimum of ten percent of the population trained in citizen CPR in the attempt to diminish the death rate of people suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. "We felt a partnership with NIC and broadening our scope to include the entire region could help with that goal, and it did," Gabriel said. It also became a convenient place for the general public to get their training and also many businesses. Currently, the department has regularly scheduled classes, along with customized classes for businesses where this is a requirement. "Working with NIC made it easy to get these classes as they could be offered much more economically," Gabriel said. The cost of the program is handled by the participants in all the classes, including the EMT and firefighter academy. NIC has a goal to provide workforce training to those who want to study in a certain field and stay close to the area. This program fits perfectly. The EMT program is vital because it has become a prerequisite to all local departments for even applying for a position. It shows the best in public partnerships as NIC provides the academic support and the fire department provides the facilities, instruction, and equipment to include fire apparatus and turn outs. Marie Price, Director of Workforce and Community Education at NIC states, "It is a privilege to work with a dedicated team of fire service professionals who are committed to ensuring that the next generation of firefighters are properly trained in skills, decision making and teamwork. The partnership succeeds because all parties are focused on one mission: producing the best prepared students for a career in the fire service."
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