Paramedic Program Looks Forward to New Home

Published 07.01.2004


Pennsylvania College of Technology's Paramedic Program will move into its new, permanent home for the Fall 2004 semester.

The new Paramedic Lab will include a crash car, an ambulance and emergency-room booths to help students practice in realistic simulations. Under construction in the Klump Academic Center, the lab also will have a designated classroom for the Paramedic Program.

"We are anticipating moving into our new facility in August, ready for the new semester," said Bambi A. Hawkins, interim director for the Paramedic Program.

Penn College purchased a used ambulance for the lab last year. Robert C. Karschner Jr., master mechanic for the College, then cut the ambulance in half in preparation for a crane from Allison Crane and Rigging to lift it over a two-story building and lower it into the basement of the Academic Center. Karschner has since completed reassembly of the ambulance box to include operational lights and sirens. While the box will be used in the Paramedic Lab, the chassis and cab were converted for use as a dump truck by the College.

The crash car is the passenger compartment of a compact car the trunk and engine compartments have been removed placed on a rotisserie device that will allow instructors to tilt the vehicle as if it were on its side. Students will practice extricating people from the car, which has a removable roof.

Hawkins said she will start by placing manikins in the crash car, but the rotisserie device should allow for practice with people, as well.

"We run a lot of scenarios that we try to make as realistic as possible," Hawkins said. "We can take patients out of the car, put them into the ambulance and then move them to the emergency-room booth, all in the same lab."

Stephen T. Duna, instructor of collision repair at the College, will paint the car, and Alfred M. Thomas II, associate professor and department head for collision repair, will cut out decals to be applied to both the ambulance and the car, Hawkins said.

Penn College's Paramedic Program offers an associate-of-applied-science degree with an option for a bachelor-of-science degree in Applied Health Studies. It employs one full-time faculty member and three full-time staff members.

The College began offering paramedic training five years ago, continuing a program previously offered by Susquehanna Health System at the Williamsport Hospital & Medical Center Paramedic Training Institute.

The College continued conducting classes at Susquehanna Health System's facilities until it moved into the Academic Center in 2002. The program has since changed locations twice to accommodate renovations at the Academic Center.

"We still have one more move, but it's definitely one we can look forward to," Hawkins said.

For more information about the academic programs offered at the School of Health Sciences at Penn College, call (570) 327-4519, send e-mail or visit on the Web.