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Sat., Sep. 5
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SUNY Canton mobile EMT classroom keeps EMTs in service.


CANTON — An unassuming trailer on the south side of SUNY Canton’s campus has kept many of the north country’s first responders in business over the past decade.

The trailer is the college’s mobile emergency medical technician classroom, a training center for rescue workers.

Donald D. Thompson, the college’s EMT program coordinator, said the trailer contains everything a department needs to teach EMT and certified first responder classes, two required certifications for rescue workers.

“You can teach a whole EMT class out of here,” he said. “It all depends on what is requested, but we usually have everything we need right there. It carries the equipment, and the class is taught in a school or a station.”

Because St. Lawrence County is so large, the trailer is the only way to make sure the requisite training is accessible to all who need it, Mr. Thompson said.

“Because of our size, it was difficult to offer classes on campus that everyone who wanted them could attend,” he said. “It is really helpful during winter weather travel.”

EMTs have to renew their certifications every three years, which keeps the trailer busy, Mr. Thompson said.

He said the trailer has been to every end of the county, having been used in places such as Star Lake, Cranberry Lake, Morley, Norfolk, Harrisville and Brasher Falls.

“All it costs is the cost in gas, because the college takes the trailer and leaves it on site for the semester,” he said. “We drive it ourselves for insurance reasons.”

SUNY Canton has the only active EMT training program in the county, Mr. Thompson said.

The trailer was the brainchild of Mr. Thompson’s predecessor, Dominic R. Doldo. Funding for the trailer and equipment, which Mr. Thompson said totaled about $200,000, came from a grant from the Children’s Miracle Network and the state.

“He was getting requests for classes, but the students couldn’t make it into Canton,” Mr. Thompson said. “I think it has been worth its weight in gold.”

It has been used every semester since Mr. Thompson took over the program, he said.

Steven A. Badlam, Ogdensburg fire chief, has used the trailer to teach first responder and EMT classes in the northwestern part of the county.

“The host departments do not have to take their EMS equipment out of service and there is less student down time as there is usually enough equipment on the trailer to provide every student the means to practice the skill simultaneously,” he said.

Mr. Thompson said that any department wanting to use the mobile classroom for a semester must have at least 10 to 12 students in the class. Interested parties should send Mr. Thompson a written request for the classes.

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