Erin Kirk, a 17 year old senior at Merion Mercy Academy, had an amazing and eventful summer. Some teenagers go down the beach for summer and have jobs lifeguarding or working at an ice cream shop. Erin, however, took a summer class. And this class was no ordinary class. Erin trained as an EMT by completing a training program that took place in West Chester over a span of 6 weeks, from June to August, taking up most of Erin’s summer. She said it was one of the most rewarding and life changing experiences she has gone through. Erin found a sense of community at the local fire station with the other fellow local EMT trainees, a sense of community just like the sisterhood here at Merion. Erin truly loves knowing that she can help people by volunteering.
However, she acknowledged that she experienced some struggles throughout the program. She said the exams were difficult and required long amounts of studying. Maintaining the time to balance learning in class with completing her training also challenged her. Erin was required to frequently take tests, ride on ambulances, and take people’s vital signs, while also learning about Anatomy, even about dealing with different diseases and complications of the human body. These tasks were extremely time consuming but worth all the hard work.
When asked if she had advice for anyone interested in becoming an EMT, Erin said, “It takes a lot of ambition, dedication, determination, the ability to accept failure, and a passion for helping others.” She added, “This experience was so rewarding, and I truly love the feeling of having this knowledge knowing that I can help someone in need.”
Becoming a certified EMT is no small accomplishment and the job requires mental and physical stamina. Anyone considering becoming an EMT should know that there are four types of EMT’s, each requiring a different level of training. Emergency Medical Responders require the least amount of training. First responders are allowed to administer CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation while waiting for more qualified medical professionals to arrive. The second type of EMTs, Erin’s type, are called Emergency Medical Technicians, they require more training than Emergency Medical Responders. Medical Technicians offer onsite treatment and care during the ambulance ride to the hospital. The third type of EMT’s are called Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians. They have the authority to administer fluids, some medications, and use the medical equipment in the ambulance; they require more training than both Emergency Medical Responders and Medical technicians. The last type of EMTs are called paramedics, they require the most qualifications. Paramedics save lives with advanced medical equipment and can administer about 30 different types of drugs.
We thank our first responders for the time they dedicate to saving lives. We thank Erin Kirk for giving up her summer to learn how to save lives. They are prime examples of Mercy!