LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The EMT Training Center of Southern Nevada has moved online to make sure students graduate on time. Amid the pandemic, the center continues to prepare first responders to work on the frontlines.

“The first week or so was a little rocky, everybody learning what they can do, what mics work, what cameras work, who’s echoing,” said Deb Dailey, president of the training center.

First responders are used to meeting face-to-face.

“You’ve invited into someone’s life at what they perceive as the worst time in their life,” Dailey said. But EMT students now have to learn and practice their skills through a screen.

“All classes are live-streaming,” Dailey said. “They interact with an instructor just like you and I are doing right now. The instructor is doing the lecture, students are able to join in on the conversation, ask questions.”

About 150 students are taking classes online currently.

“We became the first training center in the nation to do an advanced level testing for national registry since the restrictions,” Dailey said. She added several just graduated.

“They are hirable,” she said. “They’re able to get into the field and help with patient care which is so sorely needed right now. All of our fire departments - city fire, county fire, Boulder City, Henderson, all of them - once we get through this and we see what their needs are, we’ll have lots of new graduates ready for the frontlines.”

Dailey said a few lessons and tests still need to be done in-person. To do that, Dailey got approval from the Southern Nevada Health District.

“We were able to take large classes, split them into two rooms, have them six feet apart, all students are issued KN-95 masks and gloves,” Dailey said.

Dailey agrees adjustments were necessary, but she wants students to know, “this will pass. And we’re going to start scheduling labs for you guys so we’ll get the opportunity to be together.”

She added the lessons are just as important whether they’re taught online or in-person.

“You’re not just checking a box. You’ve actually got people who are treating patients,” Dailey said. “All of the topics that we’re teaching live streaming, they will get their hands on these things as well.”

“Maybe we need to use this as a learning opportunity and streamline these classes,” she said. “We’ve already made two or three changes that we’re going to keep after this is done.”

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