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Eight people signed up for the EMT training that began Feb. 7 at the Challis Area Health Center, three more than last year.

Community Paramedic Dawn Rae said two people completed the training last year. The time demands of being an EMT usually means a low turnout for training.

“We’re asking folks to do this on top of work,” said Rae. “Being respectful of people’s time is very important. That’s why the classes meet once a week.”

Classes run for 21 weeks and will follow the “flipped classroom model” and be “less toward lectures and more hands-on training.” The approach is designed to encourage students to retain information and engage them outside the training. Also, she said it puts the responsibility of learning the material on the students, who will only have classes once a week to work problems out with Rae.

The curriculum is always changing, she said, and students will learn more preventive health care information than in years past because the medical community is shifting its focus to being more proactive.

“We take care of a lot of people who are chronically ill and we’re trying to let folks know what leads up to those illness,” Rae said.

Modern medicine’s approach to health care is becoming multifaceted, according to Rae. She pointed out her students will receive training on mental health care alongside physical care.

As a community paramedic, Rae undertook extra training on mental health and disease education. She began working in Challis in December 2018, after 15 years as a paramedic in Ada County.

Rae said people interested in EMS work can sign up for future training classes, but she reminds them that it’s a big commitment of time.