UNION COUNTY — A new class at the Union County CATE (Career and Technology) Center exposes students to fire service and emergency response.
Fire and Emergency Services (I and II) are new courses at the CATE Center on the campus of Union County High School. The course is taught by Chief Brian Mullinax, who formerly taught at Daniel Morgan Technology Center in Spartanburg. The two-year course includes sections about CPR, Emergency Medical Response, and various firefighting curriculum. The goal of each of the sections is to have students certified in those areas upon completion.
“If they complete the CPR course, which they’re doing now, they’ll get certification,” Mullinax said. “Then they will move on to what’s called Emergency Medical Response, which is the old first responder course, and they will receive certification in that if they’re successful. Hopefully, we will get both of those out of the way by the end of the fall semester.”
For the spring semester, Mullinax hopes to begin firefighting curriculum.
“If they are able to successfully complete that, they will receive Firefighter I certification through the South Carolina Fire Academy,” he said. “It’s been great so far. The students are enthusiastic, and they work hard.”
Student Richie Waldrop said he enrolled in the class because he plans to go into volunteer fire service.
“Growing up watching my daddy fighting fires really made me want to do it,” Waldrop said, mentioning that his father is Monarch Fire Department Assistant Chief Rick Waldrop. “I would recommend this class to everyone because you never know when you might need it. It’s really fun.”
Another student, Da’Ana Rodriguez, said she plans to go into criminal justice and has enjoyed the class so far.
“This class is interesting to me,” said student Da’Ana Rodriguez. “I like medical-type things, and Chief Mullinax is one of the best teachers at UCHS. The class is a lot of fun.”
Rodriguez said she is excited to learn life-saving skills such as use of an AED (automated external defibrillator).
“We don’t take this for granted,” Rodriguez said. “We’re learning lessons about how to save people.”
Rodriguez said she has learned first aid through participation in JROTC, but the new class goes more in depth.
CATE Center Director Kevin Morrow said he thinks the class is a great one which has received a great response.
“This is something the community can use,” Morrow said. “Whether or not they go into it as a profession is one thing, but there are still some life-saving skills they’re getting.”
Morrow said there are over 30 students enrolled in the course, and he hopes it can expand next year.
Mullinax said he hopes students will stay in the class for the entire two years scheduled.
“We expose them to both sides — EMS and fire service,” Mullinax said. “I hope I can keep them around for the whole two years so they get exposed to all of it.”