Geismar — East Ascension High School student Dena Lolley, 17, carefully stepped into a pair of firefighter’s boots Friday, leaning on a friend to make sure she didn’t fall.
Lolley, who said she wants to be paramedic, was taking part in the fifth annual EMS Day for high school students from St. Amant, East Ascension and Dutchtown.
Program organizer Ronnie Harper said the daylong program is designed to introduce students to a “wide array of job opportunities in the field of first responders.”
Many students, he said, are interested in nursing but they don’t have any idea what types of nursing jobs are available.
The program, moved from the Dutchtown High School parking lot to inside the gym due to rain, featured 10 stations from state and local agencies and an EMS team representing industry.
In one corner of the gym, Lolley and a group of East Ascension students were learning about what it takes to be a firefighter and paramedic from members of the Prairieville Fire Department.
Firefighters Kirby McGregor, Tim Geisler, Robert Musselman, Ray Poche and Jim Cooper talked about the equipment needed for fire and rescue calls.
McGregor demonstrated how he can get into his fire gear in less than two minutes. It took Lolley about seven minutes to don the suit, helmet and other equipment.
Representatives from Baton Rouge EMS, Acadian Ambulance, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office and Louisiana National Guard talked about their jobs and the education needed for the professions.
In addition to learning about career and education opportunities, the students learned about safety.
Representatives from Rubicon’s EMS team talked about rescues and safety at their Geismar facility.
State Police Trooper Jared Sandifer talked to students about the dangers of drinking and driving. Students learned lessons on what it’s like to drive impaired when they rode a tricycle while wearing special goggles that simulate a 0.07 to 0.1 blood alcohol level.
“They get the chance to ask questions from people who do the jobs they are interested in,” said William Lelonde, who teaches a first responder class at East Ascension.
Lelonde praised Harper for his efforts in bringing the three schools together for the event.
He said students attending the program were enrolled in the schools’ emergency medical responder classes.