Seeking Individuals That Want to Make a Life-saving Difference: On-Campus at BCC

Seeking Individuals That Want to Make a Life-saving Difference: On-Campus at BCC

Employees of all ages generally agree on the qualities that make a career truly rewarding – team work, purpose and lasting value, family sustaining wages, and a balance of excitement and routine. It would be difficult to list careers that encompass all of these qualities without including emergency services.

The Emergency Services Training program at Brunswick Community College offers courses designed both to prepare tomorrow’s emergency responders and to offer professional development opportunities for those already working in the field. Each year, BCC offers roughly 400 courses to students seeking a higher level of purpose and satisfaction. Course offerings include fire/rescue training, beginner level medical responder courses, basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), advanced EMT, paramedic, Law Enforcement In-Service training and many more. The courses at BCC are extremely valuable to first responders because the courses are approved through the Office of Emergency Medical Services (NCOEMS), the Office of State Fire Marshall (NCOSFM), or the Department of Justice (NCDOJ). The certifications and credentials awarded through these state agencies are recognized throughout NC. Moreover, at the national level, North Carolina’s training is among the most prestigious.

Safety and Stability for a Growing County

In Brunswick County alone, there are twenty-two fire departments, a sophisticated emergency services department housed within our County Government, ten local substations, fourteen law enforcement agencies, and several independent emergency response organizations serving the 127,000 citizens of our area. Strong public safety and emergency service agencies pave the way for new businesses to locate to Brunswick County. Without a doubt, the presence of these agencies, staffed with dedicated professionals who respond to emergencies in a moment’s notice, attract newcomers to our area and contribute to the county’s economic infrastructure. BCC’s Emergency Services program is an essential element in providing the specialized training to fully equip the county’s emergency personnel to respond to crises with speed and efficiency.

The Key: Dedicated, Experienced Teachers and Advisors

Joshua Kerlin, Director of Emergency Services at BCC, attributes the scope and quality of courses available in the Emergency Services program to instructional team members who serve as ambassadors, recruiters, mentors and lifesavers. “Instructors view their time in the classroom as more than a job; their work is a ‘calling’ to serve the community and to model a lifestyle for future emergency service professionals. The program’s current level of training and credentialing would not be possible without these dedicated, experienced instructors.”

In addition, the program’s advisory team allows for strong collaboration with county government and our local communities. The advisory team is comprised of first responders and law enforcement officers who provide recommendations for program course content, up-to-date training, and instructional locations. Team members also bring local insight and common-sense strategy. According to Kerlin, “If several departments are in need of the same training and credentialing, the advisory team recommends that students meet at a convenient location and learn together. They train together, and they respond to emergencies together as a team. This dynamic is unique.”

Collaboration with Local County Government

The program’s ongoing relevance to our local community also stems from a strong collaboration with local county government. For instance, within the Sheriff’s Department, Captain Sammy Turner has recently recruited a multitude of students for community policing, firearms certification, and public safety dive certification courses.

Looking beyond law enforcement courses, the County’s Emergency Services Department provides guidance to ensure EMS courses focus on the right skills for our area. As the County’s EMS Training Coordinator, Rich Burns continually advocates for specialized training for our coastal region. According to Rich,“Brunswick’s emergency responders must be prepared for double the drive time because our service area is significantly larger than other counties. Our 896 square mile service area requires that paramedics provide a higher-level medical response, especially if they are transporting a cardiac patient to the trauma center at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. We are training our responders for quick arrival times because of the time that is spent on our highways.”

The Choice to Serve

As with any program, students have a variety of reasons for enrolling in the Emergency Services program at BCC. Students may aspire to attend a medical school in North Carolina. An EMT certification and clinical experience will certainly set them apart from other applicants. Other students have a long family history in paramedic, law enforcement, or fire service, and they are determined to keep the tradition alive. Finally, we also see non-traditional students enrolling in the Emergency Services program. Some of these individuals have retired from successful careers in management, sales, marketing, criminal justice, or clinical research. They aren’t looking for a full-time job during their retirement years; they are looking to make a difference in their community.

Whatever the motivation to pursue or advance in the field of emergency services, BCC prepares students to “make a life-saving difference.” In Brunswick County, a day on the job may include emergencies ranging from extreme sunburn and heat stroke to ocean rescues and automobile accidents. In each case, our program completers are equipped to approach their work with professionalism, acting with decisiveness, compassion and teamwork to serve the residents of Brunswick County.

Throughout this active hurricane season, via the media, we have witnessed heroic acts made by first responders across the nation and beyond. It is our privilege at Brunswick Community College to establish the foundation of skills and knowledge for our local emergency responders. If you have an interest in furthering your education or wish to learn more about the Emergency Services Training program at BCC, contact Joshua Kerlin, Director of Emergency Services at kerlinj@brunswickcc.edu or 910-755-7388.

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