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Heroes of the Hurricane -- NCC Edition

by Cynthia Tintorri, photos by Christopher Post
November 13, 2012

Chris Post took this photo of trees and power lines down in Fountain HillWhether you call it a hurricane or a superstorm, there's no arguing that Sandy left devastation in her wake, taxing the resources of police, fire, electrical and emergency services workers in multiple states. As you might expect, faculty, staff, graduates and students from Northampton Community College's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program were at the front lines, called to duty to provide care to those in need.

Chris Post, EMS and Emergency Management program manager at NCC, was planning to leave for Texas before the storm hit. Instead of a trip to sunnier climes, he ended up at the heart of the disaster, on Long Island with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the hurricane.

Tom Barnowski, director of Corporate and Public Safety Education at NCC, was doing duty as Bushkill Township emergency management coordinator.

Don Pond, program manager for Special Projects in Corporate and Public Safety, was activated in Pennsylvania with his unit of the Civil Air Patrol, where he coordinated communications with disaster reconnaissance aircraft.

CJ Sabo '11, a graduate of the EMS program working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with St. Luke's Health Network EMS, helped evacuate St. Luke's Hospice and a nursing home in Quakertown, and fielded several 911 calls relating to trauma from falls when power went out in nursing homes and elderly patients were tripping in the dark.

And while CJ can't claim to have delivered the "hurricane baby" -- the first baby born in the new St. Luke's Anderson Campus emergency room -- he did help transport both baby and mom to the Bethlehem hospital, where there is an obstetrics unit.  

Scott Cheatham '11, a volunteer with Pennsylvania Water Rescue, was the first on the scene in his neighborhood when an oak tree with about a four-foot diameter trunk fell across the road, taking out his neighbor's cars, front porch, and power and telecom lines. "I did an assessment of the scene to make sure it was safe. No one was injured, thankfully." Scott stayed to relay information to officers arriving at the scene, and waited until the fire department was there before leaving.

Nick Ponnett, a current  EMS student who works with the Blue Valley Rescue Squad out of Bangor, reports that he and fellow EMT student Drayce Kern rode along with crews at the squad during the hurricane and did a lot of health and welfare checks on the elderly at their homes and apartments.

Interested in being a first responder? NCC's EMS program at the Center for Business & Industry (CBI) trains individuals in the essential skills to save lives and reduce injuries in the critical first moments after an emergency has occurred. The comprehensive training features hands-on instruction and includes certification examinations where applicable. For more information, visit the CBI Emergency Medicine page.  


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