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MHS students find niche in emergency services

Pathway trainings helps students become first responders
Posted on 07/28/2015

Tanner Morton (pictured) took all the available courses in the Fire & Emergency Services career pathway at McMinnville High School (MHS) before graduating.  In July, he was hired by the Amity Fire District as an EMT. 

“I’m working on my pre-requisites to become a paramedic,” he said.

Morton said he came into the pathway with a good idea of the direction he wanted to take.  “My grandpa was a fire captain in Mac, and my dad was a volunteer EMT.”

Farther from home, Dalton Donaldson, a new MHS graduate, is spending his summer on-call for wild land firefighting.

“I got the ‘Be Ready’ text yesterday,” he said. “With high temperatures and lightning storms predicted, it might happen any time.”

Donaldson, who also launched his firefighting training with the MHS Fire & Emergency Services pathway, just completed a certification program with a private company called Dust Busters Plus LLC. The company contracts with state and federal agencies to deploy crews and equipment for disaster relief around the state.

“It could be a forest fire or a brush fire out in the desert,” says Donaldson. “When I get the call, I have an hour and a half to make it down to Eugene. Then we get on trucks from there.”

The weeklong training program mixed classroom work with physical conditioning.  Earning his CPR credentials as part of his MHS pathway program, Donaldson came into the training as a certified first responder.

Donaldson plans to attend Chemeketa Community College’s firefighting program in the fall.

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