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Alarm sounds, Galena health academy students step into action

Submitted by Carla Browning
Phone: (907) 474-7778

07/18/05

Students rescue the Galena firehouse during a routine drill. Rural Alaska high school students participating in the Galena Summer Health Academy June 23 experienced quite an adrenaline rush during a routine excercise at the volunteer fire department firehouse. When an alarm sounded, students at first thought it was part of a drill, but soon realized it was the real thing.

They had spent the morning practicing with water and hoses at the fire station and once they arrived at the scene students were prepared to work side-by-side with trained volunteer firefighters. Not only was a tribal council office building saved, but students also had the opportunity to test their emergency skills further when a firefighter was overcome by smoke and had to be taken to the local health clinic.

"They knew how to work together to put the firefighter on the gurney and into the ambulance," said Margaret Wilson, instructor with the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development. "Our students were excited because they knew how to do all the right things."

The three-week academy was developed by Wilson and funded in part by the UAF IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. It encourages village high school students to seek careers in health-related fields, use their new skills by working with health aides and fire departments in their home villages, and earn college credit.

Visit www.uaf.edu/news/featured/04/galena/index.html for more information about the Galena Health Academy.