KEYPORT, NJ - Eighty young future Emergency Medical Service providers from two states turned out for the 3nd Annual Bayshore Cadet Competition held in Keyport, N.J. on June 11, 2016.
Twenty teams of competitors from EMS organizations from New Jersey and New York participated in the day-long event, which was created by Keyport First Aid Chief Ken Krohe to foster interest in youth EMS programs, and ultimately the future of the emergency medical services field.
Krohe, with assistance from professional and volunteer providers managed the event, which featured attendees participating in a series of basic and advanced skills tests.
“Skill levels, a lot of the teams are very, very good. Very good,” Krohe said. “Some of them have really been working.”
Planning for the competition began eight months earlier, said Krohe. Planning included lining up evaluators, who carefully judged the skill levels while also sharing their knowledge. Krohe and his team also coordinated getting a variety of equipment to Keyport High School, where the event played out, including the arrival of two medical helicopters.
“It’s bigger. More teams, we expanded to two states now, we have New York teams here, mostly from the Long Island area.”
Some 80 young people took part in the competition. Eight of the teams were in the advanced division, with 12 in the basic division. Seven of the teams were from New York, while 13 teams were from EMS organizations in New jersey.
In just a year, Krohe says, the number of participants has grown as has the quality of their skills. “There just seems to be more people and more enthusiasm,” Krohe says.
To keep the younger members interested, the skills competitions range from advanced to very basic, such as performing CPR or measuring a patient’s pulse. Various skills stations were set up inside Keyport High School, with teams rotating throughout the building. Outside, two cars were in place for teams to use extrication tools and to remove injured patients. Also outside, a special ambulance from the Monmouth Ocean Hospital Corporation (MONOC) served as a base for some advance skills.
Krohe said he event is a competition, but also an educational tool.
“I hope they learn from their mistakes. That’s why we have the evaluators pointing out what they have done wrong,” Krohe explained. “It’s not like an EMT test type of thing, where you walk out of the room wondering how you have done. They’re being corrected if they’ve done something wrong. And shown maybe a better way do something.”
A team from the East Brunswick, NJ took the grand prize. East Brunswick also captured first place in the advanced category. A team representing the Second District of the EMS Council of NJ earned Second, while Keyport First Aid Team 1 took third in the advanced category. Bellmor-Merrick EMS from Bellmor, N.Y. earned first place in the basic division. Glen Oaks Volunteer First Aid Corps took second and West Long Branch finished third.
Also participating in the event were teams from the High Bridge Emergency Squad; Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps in N.Y.; Tinton Falls EMS North; Keansburg EMS; and the Bayshore Brightwaters Rescue Ambulance in Bayshore, N.Y.
Krohe said he wanted the participants leaving the event having learned a little something and, perhaps, made new friends.
Many volunteer EMS organizations have cadet groups, which are geared toward grooming the next generation of providers. Krohe estimates a third of Keyport First Aid’s roster is made up of former cadets, who graduated to full membership.
Standing between skills stations, Krohe said he was proud of the competition and the turnout of participants.
“It’s great for the kids,” Krohe said. “There’s so much negativity out there now, with kids not doing anything, this that and the other thing. if you can get a group of kids, and it helps. It does help. There’s so many of my kids going into the medical field just because of cadet programs. So I’m sure it does happen in other squads too.”