GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Eighty Northern Guilford High School students are getting introductory training and exposure into the roles of a first responder.
Teacher Liz Everidge said the course has been at Northern Guilford for three years and is the only one offered within the Guilford County school district.
Junior student Nick Carter described the course as a head starter.
“I feel like if I didn't have this I would be behind everybody else,” Carter said.
The course is divided into three levels. Upon completion students can receive entry level certifications that they would need to complete if they chose to pursue a career in public safety.
“They have 15 FEMA certifications or NIMS certification that they get and they're the basic emergency management ones that they would have to do if they want to become and entry-level emergency manager,” Everidge said. “They're able to take all that information and they could become a first-level emergency manager right out of high school and the state’s very excited about that and they helped design the program for us.”
Students also complete internships with different agencies.
Fire Chief Chris Johnson, with the Summerfield Fire Department, said that students have worked as volunteers at their stations helping to fill the gap in decreasing volunteer staff on calls.
“They're getting that knowledge and that's the key. From there they can get additional certification firefighter 1 and 2 verifications and they're already ahead a little bit,” Johnson said. “One actually just graduated the program last year and he's actually at GTCC right now getting his fire academy side to get the rest of his certification while he still volunteers with us.”
Everidge said even if students are not interested in pursuing a career in public safety, the elective course helps to answer questions that students may have as to why agencies take certain actions and how they operate.