Giving new life to firefighting equipment

Ten fire suits and hoods, eight helmets and gloves and seven pairs of boots. How do these items impact the future of high school juniors and seniors in Rock Hill, S.C.? They were donated to the Applied Technology Center (ATC) and its paramedic and emergency medical services (EMS) program.

ATC offers a variety of career and technical high school courses, designed to prepare students for success in college, technical schools, or the workforce. ATC courses provide students the opportunity to use academic skills in a project-based, hands-on learning environment.

The EMS program gives students an opportunity to experience what a career in the paramedic/EMS field looks like. The gently used firefighting equipment donated from Catawba Nuclear Station is being used for students who are pursuing a career as a first responder.

“This is the first donation of any fire gear to the program,” said Brian Smith, an EMS instructor and practicing paramedic. “Before receiving this equipment, the students would observe the mock accident scenarios but were unable to participate. Now that we have firefighting equipment, the students are able to wear the appropriate gear to actively practice using the jaws of life and prying cars apart. The gear donated from Duke Energy’s Catawba Nuclear Station is in amazing condition, looks brand new.”

ATC’s goal is to make classes as realistic as possible so students who become first responders will have real world experience. Even if the students decide a different career path, they learn lifesaving skills like CPR and first aid. And, since students practice extrication scenarios, they will know what to expect if they ever find themselves in a similar situation.

ATC plans on using the donated gear until it completely wears out. Recently, the classes used the equipment during an extrication scenario in the pouring rain and stayed completely dry during the activity. “That is the benefit of having good equipment,” said Smith.

In the future, ATC wants to expand the program to include firefighting in addition to EMS training, something that would not be possible without the donation of equipment by Catawba, according to Smith. “Thank you to Duke Energy and Catawba Nuclear Station for their partnership. We hope as our program grows so does our relationship.”

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