As high schoolers, it’s often easy to wonder what you can actually contribute to in a meaningful way. It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of the daily school routine. However, the Chatham Emergency Squad (CES) cadet program offers a break from this pattern. The cadet program is an opportunity for current sophomores to join CES and receive full Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. This program is unique because it is unlike any other experience open to high schoolers. Where most high school programs force kids to take a backseat and watch, the cadet program puts you right in the thick of it. As a cadet for CES, you will ride on a shift once a week, respond in the ambulance to emergency 911 calls, and work as a team with the adult members of the Squad on your shift. The initial training class you will take is not like a normal high school class. Adults will be your peers and you will be held to the same standards. This provides for an incredibly rewarding way to serve the community, learn lasting lifesaving skills, and explore the professional medical world.
One junior cadet, Mary Kate Vowells, notes that the cadet program is “frankly, the highlight of my week. The knowledge that you learn becoming an EMT is probably the most important information you will ever learn.” As a cadet myself, I was worried at first about applying. I knew such a unique experience was something I really wanted to be a part of because I wanted a way to make a real difference, but I was concerned that not having always dreamt of being a surgeon when I grew up automatically disqualified me. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The skills I have learned in just a few months of being on the squad are extremely valuable to any task I look to accomplish, no matter the field. I thoroughly enjoy showing up to my shifts and learning something new each week, be it a life skill such as how to communicate under pressure or a medical skill like how to splint an injured arm.
If this opportunity sounds like something you would want to chase, consider applying. To apply, you must:
- Be a Chatham resident
- Be a high school sophomore in good academic standing
- Turn 16 years old by July 1, 2020
- Attend the mandatory parent and applicant meeting on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 7:00pm at 45 Spring Street (Township Emergency Squad Building)
There will then be an application and interview process to select the new cadet class. Accepted cadets will begin riding on a weekly shift in late June of 2020 and continue with their crews until high school graduation (where you can then become certified as an adult member). Accepted cadets will also need to complete a 200 hour State of NJ EMT initial training course and pass the National Registry EMT exam. For more information, head to chathamemergencysquad.org or reach out to anyone you see cruising around school in a cool EMT sweatshirt.