paramedicine students transfer a medical manniquin from the back of an ambulance to a wheeled patient gurney
Mar 3, 2023
The Western News

Troy Partnership Will Result in More First Responders

By Hayden Blackfield

More trained professionals will be in the Troy community thanks to a partnership between Troy Public Schools and Troy Volunteer Ambulance.

Troy Public Schools Adult Education Program is helping to lower the cost of an intensive 11-week Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class that members of Troy Volunteer Ambulance and Bull Lake Rural Fire District will be teaching.

“It seems like people are really happy about it,” said Troy Public Schools Superintendent Jacob Francom.

EMTs help people in a wide variety of circumstances by providing health services outside of a hospital. The training and licensing process to become an EMT is challenging. After certification EMTs can qualify for, or bring better medical knowledge to, a variety of jobs. Some EMTs choose to volunteer their time to help out local emergency services.

In Troy, the Troy Volunteer Ambulance has a long-standing desire for volunteers. The partnership with Troy Public Schools works well because the schools want more staff members to be EMT certified in case of an emergency, Francom said.

All school staff members are required to be certified in CPR and the school nurse is a county nurse, but the school still incentivises staff members to become EMT certified, as evidenced by the fact the school gives bonuses of $1,000 to staff members who maintain an EMT certification.

“Just in case of anything. We’ve had teachers or staff members be certified in the past and they were able to step in and help out in a couple of different cases,” Francom said.

The class is tough and after the classroom portion there is hands-on experience where trainees ride along in real life situations, Francom said.

In order to offset costs, the school is helping fund some tuition, textbooks and equipment in partnership with the Troy Volunteer Ambulance, Francom said.

This is not the first time the school has partnered with Troy Volunteer Ambulance. The school worked to provide over 15 high school kids with a dual-credit class that worked toward an EMT certification, in conjunction with the Flathead Valley Community College and Troy Volunteer Ambulance, Francom said.

At high school sporting events members of Troy Volunteer Ambulance are in attendance in order to address injuries athletes may suffer during football, volleyball, basketball or other sports.

Currently, one school staff member is taking the class out of nine total students. Francom said the school is very happy to see this individual receiving the training.

“We’re hoping that we can continue this partnership,” Francom said. “To provide more volunteer EMTs for the ambulance and then, also, more staff that we have that certified to step-in in some sort of emergency.”

Katie Davis, Troy Chief of Police and Vice President of Troy Ambulance, said the EMT course helps maintain the goal of recruiting more volunteers for emergency services in Lincoln County.

In recent history, emergency services have been having a hard time getting people to volunteer, Davis said. Typically there isn’t a lack of interest, but many people have trouble finding time to volunteer.

The nine students in the class are from Libby, Bull Lake and Troy. It’s a diverse group, but many are ready to jump in and help the community, Davis said.

The primary lead instructor is Janet Miller with the Bull Lake Fire District, who is also a member of the Troy Volunteer Ambulance Service, but there are multiple members volunteering to teach the class, Davis said.

“We have a pretty great group and we’re hoping to get nine new EMTs out of it,” Davis said.

The service could use fresh new ideas from new individuals, Davis said.

It's quite the undertaking to convince people to take the time to train, often paying for the class, and then volunteer for their communities afterward, Davis said.

Certifications will then need to be renewed every two years to make sure people are up on current trends and staying on top of their training. Still, with the help of the Adult Education Program the EMT class will be provided at a lower cost to students.

“I think anybody who has any capacity to volunteer in the community, whatever capacity, fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement reserves, search and rescue. I mean if you think you would be interested I would encourage you to do it,” Davis said. “It’s a small community and we take care of our own.”

Right now emergency services in Troy are trying to retain enough volunteers to keep services going without overwhelming or exhausting current members. In the future, it would be nice to revive the high school classes again, Davis said.

“If you’re interested in an emergency medical services course, go to your local ambulance service and ask about it, because this won’t be the last one that ever happens in Lincoln County,” Davis said.