Carter in the classroom

School Trains Student First Responders While in High School

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A man fell inside his bathroom, hit his head, and called 911. Fire crews got there first to begin providing medical help as paramedics raced to the scene. 

The firefighters were high schoolers and so were the paramedics in this life-like scenario.  It's all part of two hands-on programs at Vanguard High School in Mesquite.

"It's kinda crazy," said Leslie Luna, a student captain in the fire program. "I got into this because I have a passion to help people and maybe people don't like to help people, you have to have a big heart to put yourself out there."

It's not a lifelong dream for Luna or following in someone's footsteps. She just thought it was cool, was something that spoke to her, and now she's on track to graduate high school with an associate's degree in firefighting. 

"I'll be the first one, that's a great look in the family," she said.

Schools across the area have firefighting programs like Mesquite but here at Vanguard there are also full-time paramedics, they work hand-in-hand just like in the real world, focusing a lot on the savings of lives, not just dousing flames.

"They really made a university type-level training for them as far as the simulations and the education they get from the simulation and training you really can't get any better unless you have a live patient," said Randy Magee, EMT instructor.

"Our guys we'd hire, we'd get them at that age where they'd have to go back to school to get their degree and they have family lives, working, and they need a degree. Now we can do it before they get in there," said Clay Cunningham, fire instructor.

Many of the students sign up for the activities, others because they have a plan.

"My goal in my career is to become a neurosurgeon," said Edy Pablo Meso, a student in the paramedic program. 

Edy was right there in it, caring for this patient, monitoring his vitals and complaints which the professor could change at the push of a button.

Helping kids get closer to their goals and discover all new ones is the goal of this program, all while helping the community at the same time.

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