‘First Responders’ raising funds to attend conference

Heather Latter

The Fort Frances High School “First Responders” are raising funds in order to travel to the International Emergency Medical Services conference Feb. 2-10 in Washington, D.C.
“The First Responders have an opportunity to experience a world-class conference, which draws attendees from all over the world,” noted FFHS First Responder team co-ordinator John Beaton.
“They will be able to hear and see about the profession they have volunteered so much of their personal time to learning about,” he added.
The conference will include workshops, sessions offering EMS continuing education, the JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services) Games clinical competition, networking, and an exhibit hall full of new products and services.
“Attending this conference [will] show us what being a First Responder is all about—that we help a lot more than we see,” noted senior student and First Responder Tristian Spilchuk.
“It’s going to be a great learning experience,” echoed Grade 12 student and fellow First Responder Samantha Dunn.
Beaton said the FFHS First Responders put in a lot of community hours, volunteering in a medical capacity for events such as the Dragon Boat Festival, the “Splash and Dash” aquathlon, roller derby matches, local running events, and much more.
“We do a lot of stuff outside of school,” agreed Dunn, noting they offer plenty of education to both youth and adults alike, such as showing what it’s like to drive impaired by using SIDNE (Simulated Impaired DriviNg Experience).
“It’s a nice little pat on the back for what they’re doing,” said Beaton, adding the conference also exposes students to many career paths in the medical field, especially as they’ll have a chance to tour the Children’s Trauma Centre while in Washington.
“Most of us want to go into the medical field and if you are not sure what career, this will help,” reasoned Spilchuk, citing jobs can range from paramedic or doctor to nurses or X-ray technicians.
Beaton also is turning the trip into more of an educational experience by setting up other tours and visits for the 11 First Responders (and three adults) who will head to the U.S. capital, such as stopping by the Smithsonian Museum or to learn more about U.S. history.
“We’re going to the capital so there’s lots to learn about,” Beaton stressed.
But in order to make the trip a reality, the First Responders have been fundraising to help cover the cost of $1,300, which includes airfare, as well as the conference fee and accommodations.
The students recently sold “nuts and bolts” at the local hospital, and will be selling them again at The Christmas Store on the next two Saturdays (Dec. 7 and 14).
They also will be at Walmart and Safeway those days, as well as on Dec. 6 and 13 in the evening, to accept donations.
“It’s something positive for youth to get involved in and they have given a lot to the community,” reiterated Beaton, noting businesses like to hire First Responders.
“We already know what to do in a heartbeat,” Dunn remarked.
“They are great role models,” Beaton added.
Beaton indicated the First Responders are a group of volunteer, dedicated students who complete the requirements of Red Cross’ 80-hour First Responder Program.
“They are trained in advanced first-aid and assessment, along with oxygen therapy and injury immobilization, to provide advanced medical care before the critical four-minute mark is passed,” he explained.
“By doing so, the FFHS First Response Team minimizes injuries and starts treatment of emergencies before the arrival of paramedics.”
The group, which has been active since 2002, works together as a team.
“No First Responder is obligated to join or stay in our group,” said Beaton. “But most stay because [they] are determined to contribute positively to our society.”
To make a donation, contact Beaton at 274-2618 or via e-mail at medic45711@hotmail.com