Edgecombe Community College’s programs in emergency medical services and paramedic training are being strengthened by the hiring of a new coordinator and the purchase of an ambulance.
John Wilson recently joined the college as coordinator of EMS and fire services training. He comes to ECC with more than 25 years of experience, including nearly 10 years in higher education.
Most recently, he served as EMS program director at the College of the Albemarle. Locally, Wilson is a lieutenant with the Edgecombe County Rescue Squad.
“John has held numerous leadership positions in EMS agencies, and he brings that wealth of experience to the table,” notes Bruce Panneton, dean of the Division of Health Sciences and Public Safety at ECC.
Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management from Western Carolina University and is a nationally registered paramedic. He also is a Level 2 paramedic instructor and affiliate faculty for the National Association of EMTs and the American Heart Association.
“John has continued working in the field, so he’s current on the issues facing EMTs today. He sees the bigger picture,” Panneton said.
Panneton said the purchase of a new ambulance for EMT and paramedic training was indirectly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2011, ECC was the first community college in the area to operate a mobile medical simulation lab. Among other purposes, it was taken to emergency agencies for on-site training.
“High fidelity simulation became more common, and with the opening of the Lamm Building — which centers on patient simulation training — on our Rocky Mount campus in 2016, the mobile simulation lab wasn’t used as often,” Panneton said. “Then, the North Carolina Office of EMS announced that mobile simulators could no longer be used for EMS and paramedic training. We had to have an ambulance to provide this training.
“When the coronavirus pandemic struck and everyone shut down in March, we had instructional funds that weren’t being spent, so we began investigating the purchase of an ambulance. We found a rig with low mileage in pristine shape. It has a stretcher, backup camera capability, extra jump seating in the back and a power load oxygen system.”
The vehicle is a fully functional, ready-to-operate ambulance, Wilson said.
“It’s an incredibly helpful piece of training equipment that will enable us to better provide EMS and paramedic training,” he said.
Edgecombe Community College’s EMS program serves agencies across North Carolina. Students have come from as far west as Asheville and as far south as Wilmington. The college’s fire training program serves 19 local fire departments.
Annually, ECC trains approximately 45 EMS, AEMT and paramedic students. An additional 150 students complete various other courses offered through the college’s EMS programs.
“We have the best of both worlds in simulation training,” Wilson said. “We offer first-rate instruction in a brick and mortar facility with the Lamm Building, and now we have advanced training on wheels.”