Bedford County Emergency Medical Services board, meeting next week, will consider a staff proposal to start a youth academy which, if implemented, would put 24 high school students through the state-approved first responder program.
First responders, as the term is used in Tennessee, are trained and state-approved volunteers, or members of other public service agencies, who provide first aid while waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive. The state has a rigorous 60-hour curriculum and a test for licensing first responders.
The purpose of a BCEMS youth academy would be to promote careers in public safety, and to promote coummunity service in general, according to BCEMS director Chad Graham. The State of Tennessee, hoping for more youth involvement, recently lowered the minimum age for first responders from 18 to 17. That opens the door for high school seniors to take the course.
Graham hopes for a class of 24 teens -- eight from each of the county's three public high schools. The class would meet two nights a week and half a day on Saturday.
Graham said Select-Tech, a Shelbyville-based provider of ambulance remounts, repair and maintenance, has agreed to be a partner in the academy if it is approved by the board, providing shirts and a pinning ceremony for the participants. The students would take a field trip to the Select-Tech facility as part of the course.
The BCEMS board will meet 5 p.m. Monday at the BCEMS offices on Frank Martin Road.