NY EMS students practice lifesaving skills at home through virtual training

Monte Posner, executive director of the Training Institute for Medical Emergencies and Rescue, says students have found creative ways practice hands-on skills at home


Alexandra Salmieri
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

NEW YORK — A hero training heroes.

Monte Posner, executive director of the Training Institute for Medical Emergencies and Rescue (TIMER), quickly shifted his Emergency Medical Service (EMS)course to a virtual setting when the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak began, marking the second time the school had to close its doors since 1980, the first being after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

However, going remote was just the beginning of the challenges Posner would face.

Aside from teaching EMS courses, Posner also worked as part of the command staff of the COVID-19 testing center located on the grounds of the South Beach Psychiatric Center in Ocean Breeze.

The Arden Heights resident worked about 10 14-hour shifts before contracting the virus.

After spiking a fever, he said he decided to get tested, adding that he knew he had the coronavirus.

“I went to City MD -- and even the doctor knew I had COVID without swabbing me,” recalled Posner.

Aside from being low on energy, he recovered in two weeks and continued training his soon-to-be EMTs.

The biggest challenge was teaching hands-on skills to the students through videos, he explained.

“We had to be very creative to do some skills virtually and we were in consultation with the state Department of Health,” said Posner, who added he was amazed by his students’ creativity and effort when practicing skills at home.

“We even had a student practice skills on his cat,” he said, stressing the importance of training in-person and alongside peers.

Eventually, the state deemed emergency medical training courses essential, allowing the school to continue in-person instruction at 50% capacity.

In July, the Training Institute for Medical Emergencies and Rescue held a graduation ceremony for its 51 graduates on the grounds of Volunteer Heart Ambulance in Sea View, where Posner welcomed the students into their new career.

“Your stepping into a profession that is going to be asking a lot of you -- and a lot more than what EMS has been asked to do before,” he told the graduates.

Posner continues to teach courses at TIMER. To learn more about the classes, click here.

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©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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