New EMT class slated for September in Meeker

MEEKER I A new Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) basic course is scheduled to run from mid-September through the end of the year and is to be taught by Fidel Garcia of Professional EMS Education out of Grand Junction, a very well-known instructor, according to Meeker Fire Chief Marshall Cook.

Local Meeker instructors will also be utilized, and any interested parties interested in taking the course are encouraged to apply.
Classes are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Cook said, adding that some weekends will be necessary because of the atypical two-night schedule. The cost will be absorbed by the Meeker Fire District for those who volunteer for Meeker and agree to at least one year of active service.
For all others, the cost will be $1,850, which includes student manual, clinical shirt, personnel equipment kit and class fees.
There are currently enough people committed to run the class—a minimum of six is required—and there are another five that are a “definite maybe,” Cook said. “There is certainly room for more. Just call us here at the station.”
Cook elaborated on instructor Garcia.
“I have not personally met him, but everybody I’ve talked to who has had dealings with him just praise him up one side and down the other,” Cook said.
According to the Professional EMS Education website, Garcia “started his EMS career in 1980 and worked 20 years for hospital-based, private and volunteer ambulance agencies, as well as a flight paramedic for 10 years and EMS education coordinator for a Level II trauma center. (He) has been providing EMS education for the last 30 years and has articles published in State EMS journal as well as writing for EMS textbooks.”
Cook also talked about the future of EMT training here in Meeker. There are currently five certified instructors here with five more scheduled to complete instructor training. “Ten instructors right here in this department is impressive,” he said.
Cook is also exploring the possibility of Meeker becoming a “training group.”
The only organizations that can teach initial EMT courses in Colorado are hospitals and community colleges, known as “training centers.” While a training group can provide continuing education, such as refresher courses, only a training center can perform initial training. While Meeker is currently neither one, Cook wants to address that issue.
Cook said he has also discovered that Rangely has the same goal. Since they, however, are a hospital-based ambulance service—Meeker is fire-based—they can actually work toward becoming a training center.
“By combining forces, then, we could have a county-wide training program for EMTs,” he said.
“All this will save money and allow far more scheduling control,” Cook said. “I’m excited about all that.”