May 15—A $30,000 ambulance simulator arrived last month at East High School, something educators say will transform the way students learn about emergency medicine in the coming years.
East Academy Coach Bill Rose said the simulator—which is the same size and shape of the inside of a standard emergency services ambulance—was purchased for the school by Career Education Associates of North Central Illinois, or CEANCI, using federal grant dollars.
While the simulator is a first-of-its-kind for a high school in the region, it is similar to one at Rock Valley College, where students use it to prepare for careers as emergency medical technicians or paramedics.
A ribbon cutting was held Tuesday afternoon at the school.
"It's really cool," said East junior Carina Sund. "It's neat. I can't wait until it's stocked with all of the materials. It will be really cool to do codes with all of the students."
Sund is a student in the school's health academy. She hopes to become a surgeon.
For now, she's taking a class in medical terminology and participates in an after-school program called EMR, which stands for emergency responder. The certificate-based program gives students like Sund a jump start on an EMT, or emergency medical technician, certificate, while teaching them basics like CPR, bandaging techniques and first aid. The EMR program is being offered through the school's partnership with the Rockford Fire Department and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center.
In coming years, East hopes to turn its after school EMR program into a full-fledged, credit-earning class in which students would also earn certificates. The school's health academy has about 300 students interested in pursuing health-based careers.
"It's great to see so many young people excited about this," said Bob Ortiz, a training chief with the Rockford Fire Department. "It really opens up so many unique opportunities for them, whether they want to become a nurse, a doctor, physician's assistant or a career in fire service."