WAUKEE, Iowa – High school students in Waukee are learning to respond to emergency calls in the district’s new EMT program.

The class allows them to explore careers in the medical field and learn life-saving skills.

“It was actually this year I was heading home from the fair and somebody got hit by a car and I didn’t know CPR or anything at that point, so we just had to wait,” Senior Payton Schnurr said. “And it would’ve really helped that guy if we knew how to do CPR.”

Sixteen students are signed up for the course. They’re learning skills and getting hands-on experience with trained first responders at the Waukee Fire Department and medical personnel in local hospitals.

Instructors say it’s a step towards addressing shortages in the medical field.

“It’s super important to get kids interested early,” Instructor Chandler Thayer said. “Even if they’re not going to pursue this career as a full-time career in the future, they can still practice as an EMT or paramedic early on in their career such as if they’re studying to be a physician to Eventually continue studying in medicine.” 

After finishing the course, the students will have the opportunity to take the National Registry Exam to become certified EMTs.