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Immaculata University Students Recognized as Heroes During EMS Week

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Imagine a frantic call to 911 in the middle of the night: A man fell down a flight of stairs and is bleeding. The 911 dispatcher sends an ambulance and emergency medical technicians (EMT). They arrive and perform basic life-saving emergency medical assistance and rush the man to the hospital.

Now, imagine a time before EMTs, when people in need of emergency care were more likely to experience negative outcomes, including death.

Because of such an urgent need for faster responses to medical emergencies, the EMT profession emerged in the early 1970s and has grown significantly. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 167,040 people working as EMTs as of April 2024.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of National Emergency Medical Services Week, and May 24 is National EMT Day.

It is also a perfect time to recognize some Immaculata University students who serve as EMTs: Courtney Gable ’25, a nursing major, with minors in psychology and emergency planning and management (EPM), and Ethan Tartaglio ’25, an EPM major.

EMTs come from diverse educational backgrounds, reflecting the multifaceted nature of the profession.

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Courtney Gable

Gable’s emergency medical training, combined with her nursing classes, adds a depth of knowledge that gives her an advantage. Gable began her initial 16-week EMT training in the fall of 2022, during her sophomore year at Immaculata. She attended two weekly classes alongside frequent weekend classes, which led to various certifications provided by FEMA. Once Gable passed her national exam in January 2023, she began driving the ambulance at the West End Fire Company in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.

Gable admits that the job can be mentally draining. “You see people on their worst days. A lot of times, even if it’s just a cut, they think it could be their last day,” she said. Her goal is to make their day a little better and to take their mind away from the situation as much as possible.

As a full-time student and a member of Immaculata’s softball team, Gable prioritizes her time. She averages 24 to 48 hours of EMT service a month, depending on her class and softball schedules. This summer, she will work full-time as a nurse tech in the ER at Lehigh Valley Hospital/Cedar Crest, which will help her as she aspires to become an ER trauma nurse.

Tartaglio’s journey began five years ago as a volunteer firefighter at the Berwyn Fire Company in Chester County. His passion led him to volunteer as an EMT there and later to work as a career firefighter and EMT at Newtown Square Fire Company. Currently, he serves as a career-status EMT at the Media Fire Company. Tartaglio’s extensive experience, combined with his EPM coursework, fuels his ambition to continue in the profession.

“This is the best job in the world, and I want to do this as long as I can,” Tartaglio stated. “My degree will help me down the line when it comes to promotion and pay incentives. It also is very relevant in what I do now and something that I am very passionate about.”

With most of his EPM classes online, Tartaglio effectively balances his full-time course load with 12- to 24-hour weekly EMT shifts during the school year. He also volunteers at the Berwyn Fire Company when he is home and over the summer.

Immaculata’s students who serve as EMTs are among the many dedicated men and women nationwide who are serving their communities and saving millions of lives. Heroes among the chaos.

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