08/17/08 — Fremont Junior EMS team best in state

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Fremont Junior EMS team best in state

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on August 17, 2008 9:44 AM

FREMONT -- Airway, breathing, circulation. Those are the "ABCs" of basic life support, the sort of thing a hospital-bound patient needs before getting to the hospital.

And a junior Emergency Medical Services team from Fremont has its "ABCs" down cold, according to the N.C. Association of Rescue & E.M.S.

A four-member team, including captain Laquan Reid, Tia Jackson, Audrey Williams, all 16, and Megan Wunders, 15, placed first in basic life support at the association's 2008 convention, this year held in Hickory.

Similar to training for grown-up EMS workers, junior teams are subjected to scenarios where they must assess a disaster situation and how best to treat patients inside.

"The problem this year was ... that a building had fallen down on a patient," team captain Laquan Reid said. "The rescue team had to get the patient out from under the building."

The team would be given a brief synopsis of a patient's symptoms.

"Most of the vital signs," Laquan said.

Chiming in quickly, co-captain Tia said, "Pulse, respiration, blood pressure and injuries."

But the hypothetical emergency scenario involved more than just human health issues -- a building had fallen in this scenario, lodging steel "rebar" in one patient's thigh, Laquan said.

"We walked the scene first, talking to the patient to establish a level of consciousness," Laquan said. "We started doing rapid trauma assessment. It was a loaded gun situation -- (evaluate) all the life-threatening issues and get the patient to the hospital as quickly as possible."

Audrey and Megan, who listed themselves as team members, watched as Laquan and Tia administered appropriate treatment.

But despite a primary role as observers, they had to stay on their toes, explained Audrey.

"(Megan and I), we stood there and we watched the problem," Audrey said. "Sometimes they kill off our team members, so we have to be prepared to step in at any time."

Fremont E.M.S. members Randy Lassiter, Ed Parks and team adviser Jennifer Johnson, Randy's wife Stephanie Lassiter and Kelly Hood attended with the team, serving as judges and chaperones.

Lassiter and Parks said they hope the team's victory would be enough to attract more youngsters to the junior E.M.S. program.

The team's advisers limited the program to 10 participants, and a total of four signed up.

Since reviving the program in 1992 after a 1980s hiatus -- when Fremont-area emergency volunteers were "plentiful," Parks said -- the program has averaged between four and seven volunteers.

"I wish there were some more kids," Parks said.