New EMT Program Launches in California

Aug. 19–SANTA CRUZ — County residents have a new option to train to become an emergency medical technician in Santa Cruz.

A 10-week series of classes is being launched with county approval by retired flight nurses Aki and Alex Williams, who five years ago started Defib This, a school providing emergency response training.

Five openings remain in the initial class of 20, which begins Saturday and meets Saturdays plus two evenings a week. A six-week session, meeting four nights a week, will start Jan. 11. Tuition is $1,650.

“This is good for working adults,” said Aki Williams, who will co-host an open house with her husband 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at their downtown location, 1543 Pacific Ave. upstairs.

They offer classes seven days a week, including CPR and first aid for the general public as well as trauma courses, basic, advanced and pediatric advanced life support for health professionals.

Williams said more than 600 people took classes in July, including a woman who learned CPR the day before she rescued a child from drowning in a pool at Chaminade Resort.

“We’re looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership,” Celia Barry, Santa Cruz County’s emergency medical service administrator, said of the Defib This founders. “Their passion is EMS.”

For the past year, county residents had just one local option for EMT classes.

Cabrillo College is offering three EMT classes and labs for the semester beginning Aug. 31. All three are in Watsonville, three during the day and three at night. The cost is $46 per unit for the eight units.

The other choice: Travel out of the county. That’s because International Education Corp. of Irvine, which bought Emergency Training Services in 2012 from founder David Barbin and renamed it UEI College, ceased to operate in Santa Cruz.

The property at 3050 Paul Sweet Road where ETS and UEI College operated has been leased to Dignity Dominican Hospital. Hospital spokesman Paul Bailiff said the two buildings will be used for business and support services.

When Barbin announced the sale, he said one of the benefits was the new owner’s certification to offer federal financial aid to students.

Last September, International Education Corp. purchased the for-profit Anthem Education Group, which secured $350,000 in state and local tax breaks before floundering financially, and now operates Anthem’s Florida Career College at a dozen sites.

Reviews in 2015 by former UEI College employees on rate-your-company startup Glassdoor say management focuses more on sales than education.

“They were charging so much their business model collapsed,” Jeff Maxwell, chief for Central Fire Protection District, said of UEI College’s EMT program.

Maxwell said fire chiefs in the county years ago created a joint powers authority to provide classes required to maintain paramedic certification at a lower cost to taxpayers.

International Education Corp. has a dozen locations in California, but offers no emergency medical technician training, according to its website.

Copyright 2015 – Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif.

About Philip Hayes

Phil is currently an active career Captain with the City of Stamford Fire & Rescue Department. He spent more than 20 years with Stamfords' Rescue 1 and has experience as a former Paramedic, EMS Instructor, Rescue Diver and Fire Officer. Before moving to Connecticut to join the Stamford Fire & Rescue Department, he spent many several years as a paramedic in Southern Westchester County, NY. Phil is also experienced with graphic design, multimedia development, digital video and audio. Phil brings both vision and implementation experiences of internet technology solutions and is critical in developing the web-strategy plans and operational infrastructure to Sirius Innovations and the Village sites.