New EMS Training School teaches lead mitigation to Flint students

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GRAND BLANC (WJRT)- (7/18/16)- Helping the sick and shut-in is nothing new for Teonna Knapp.

"I'm currently a home health aid right now. So, I already am working with elderly individuals," Knapp said.

Now Knapp is aiming to elevate her skills by becoming an EMT, and for a very personal reason.

"I have people, family members and friends that are affected by lead poisoning right now," Knapp said.

Knapp and 16 of her classmates are part of the first EMT pilot training program at Universal EMA in Grand Blanc. Monday and Wednesday from 9am to 1pm, she's given lessons by Kat Vansickle.

"We do a lot lectures. But we also do a lot of hands on work. We teach them on lifting and moving patients, we teach them how to backboard, put on collars. We teach them CPR," Vansickle said.

What sets this program apart from others like it? They're training these EMT's the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning, something these students are experiencing in their hometown. They're all from Flint.

"Some significant signs you may see, like rashes or other signs and symptoms for like legionnaires disease, so that maybe we can implement faster treatment for these people. This is a lot about unity for Flint. Training those who are actually in the community to go out and save their loved ones and save strangers," Kat Vansickle said.

So far, the program's in high demand.

"We have a waiting list of 100 students and we're looking to meet with our partners on Wednesday to step up other classes. We're in program one, which is our EMT, lead mitigation program, we're looking to start billing as a secondary program and a paramedic course as a third program," Danette Johnson, Interim Administrator for Universal EMS.

Knapp looks forward to her class each week and is counting down the days where she'll finally put on that EMT uniform.

"To go out in the road. To become an EMT and to do what I was trained to do by my professor," Knapp said.

If you'd like more information, call Universal EMS School at (810) 744-1117 and ask Danette or Michael.