A crew of student emergency professionals arrive on an emergency scene in a classroom

On April 9, 15 teams of high school students from several different high school EMS training programs participated in the 35th annual State Youth EMS competition at Spring Lake Park High School.

At a time when there is a growing shortage of emergency medical technicians, these efforts to train the next generation of emergency responders are more important than ever. The state competition provides students training to be Emergency Medical Technicians an opportunity to test their skills as they navigate scenarios based on real life situations.

“Many of the scenarios were written by past graduates who come back to help with the program,” says Bill Neiss, Opportunities in Emergency Care Program Director at Spring Lake Park High School.

This year, the crisis situations were spread throughout Spring Lake Park High School with teams rotating to the various scenarios. At each scene, victims were staged to be in need of medical help while judges stand by to observe. Students go into each scenario blind and are scored on how well they handle each situation.

The wrestling room had the lights shut off with loud rock music to simulate a concert, with a patient in need of CPR. In the B building, students were given devices to limit their senses (touch, sight, sound and speech). These crews rushed into classrooms with stretchers to find overturned desks and victims throughout in need of assistance.

In the gym, a scenario involving a chainsaw accident ensured that students could practice shock management for a bleeding patient and cardiac arrest on another simultaneously. This was based on a real call OEC support teacher, John Lindstrom, had as a firefighter.

Past scenarios have included pool rescues, simulated vehicle accidents, the release of radioactive material in a crash, and other high stakes situations.

 “In each scenario, there are a wide range of treatments that need to be administered. Students’ skills and knowledge are tested on everything from patient assessment to oxygen administration to bleeding control to CPR and more,” says Bill.

OEC Students tend to a patient by treating their injuries

The state results

It was an exciting competition and Spring Lake Park High School students earned top marks.

  • 1st Place: The Pain Killers team from Spring Lake Park High School – Ella Hammerbeck, Kevin Hoang, Julia Hutton, Taylor Isabel
  • 2nd Place: The Rapid Relief ream from Spring Lake Park High Schools — Paige Kiani, Adam Pattberg, Diego Rivera, Marion Sterk-Ciresi
  • 3rd Place: The Gal Stones team from Osseo and Chaska High Schools: Sophie Hentges (Chaska), Samantha Longenecker, Katie Millard, Elena Bohlsen (Osseo)
  • Most Academic Individual: Taylor Isabel from Spring Lake Park High School
  • Most Academic Team: The Pain Killers team from Spring Lake Park High School
  • Most Professional Team: The Pain Killers team from Spring Lake Park High School

“It takes a full crew to put on a state event like this,” says Bill. “We had 15 teams, 3 OEC Programs across more than 12 schools represented, and 130 volunteers. Every student worked so hard to treat the victim volunteers and show their knowledge to the judges, no matter what scenario was thrown at them.”

Each year, Spring Lake Park High School’s Opportunities in Emergency Health Care program graduates about 80 students who have earned their EMT, Firefighter, and Nursing Assistant certifications while still in high school. Students graduate with credentials to work immediately in the field as many pursue additional health care training and education.