KENNETT, Mo. -- Teamwork is a key component in treating emergencies, and it is emphasized in the EMT course at the Kennett Area Vocational Technical School.
Instructor Raymond Tanner and course coordinator Deb Cook use teamwork to better prepare their students for the emergency medical field.
"Academics and practical applications are important but teamwork is critical," Tanner said. "In the emergency medical field 90 percent of what we do is with a partner."
Tanner knows from experience the importance of teamwork. He is a paramedic with the Pemiscot Memorial Health Systems, but he started where most of his students sit today, in the classroom.
He began as a volunteer firefighter for the fire department in Wardell, Mo.
In 1993, Tanner attended the EMT course in Pemiscot County that was instructed by Cook.
After completing his state certification as an EMT and a paramedic, he began to assist Cook in teaching the EMT classes. He has taught five classes through the vo-tech school.
Tanner's road to the course is common to several of his 12 students, including Donny Jenkins.
Jenkins is a volunteer firefighter for the fire department at Dexter, Mo.
After completing his first-responder training, Jenkins began to take the steps to become a paramedic, and the EMT class in Kennett was the next step.
"I've been on the fire department for two years now and really would like to be a paramedic someday," Jenkins said.
For other students, the EMT class is a way to help others in their time of need.
Christy Venable of Kennett has been working in the medical field at a local care facility. She found herself becoming close to her patients but wanted something more.
"I wanted to be able to help save someone instead of taking care of them until they are gone," Venable said.
The emergency medical field offered the change Venable was looking for.
"I wanted something more exciting, something different," Venable said. "I enjoy working with people and maybe I'll be able to save someone's life one day."
Students, like Jenkins and Venable, are involved in a hands-on, six-month course that began in December.
Tanner and Cook share time instructing the students two nights a week on emergency medicine.
Some of the classes include treating respiratory and cardiovascular emergencies, injuries they may face while in the emergency medical field, dealing with allergic reactions and even emergency child births.
Students learn the basic function of the human body and how to treat the patient's needs.
Students work together in groups to practice using spinal immobilization splints as well as taking vital signs, such as a patient's pulse, blood pressure and respiration rate.
The classes provide the students with instruction and then the practical application needed for the state certification exam in June.
In May, the students will put their training to the test as they begin clinical rotations with the emergency medical services in the area.