Oklahoma Panhandle State University
Live Fire Training for OPSU Students
The smell of smoke is the first thing that grabs the attention of Oklahoma Panhandle State University's Fire Protection Safety Training program students when approaching the Guymon Fire Department's training tower during the live fire training on the night of Oct. 8. Donning school-sponsored bunker gear, the interns got to test their courage and practice what textbooks have no way of teaching.
Adrenaline is just the byproduct of what these young men have running through their veins caused by fear and excitement. Their eyes shine with determination. Their faces, barely old enough to grow hair, gleam with sweat and soot.
During live fire training, Guymon Fire Department firefighters practice mayday training, proper use of PPE and SCBA, general fire and smoke behaviors, catching a hydrant, hose deployment, line placement, incident command, search and rescue, fire extinguishment and correct nozzle application. These men are the future of the fire service. Interns are Carson Kane (Guymon), Noe Santillan (Guymon), Jarod Loftis (Boise City), Zachary Gregory (Thomas), David Morris (Corpus Christi, Texas), Dalton Bebout (Purcell), Caleb Mihelic (Goodwell) and Alex Tuttle (Comanche).
Second-year intern Dalton Bebout said, "We are blessed to be able to get practice in a controlled environment. It's safer, and they can teach us a lot more. Not many departments have this opportunity."
Along with the live fire training, OPSU emergency medical technology students got some of the action. In order to protect firefighters from the dangers of this type of training, rehab is mandatory for all participants. When exiting the training tower fire, firefighters are directed to emergency medical personnel to get a checkup and continue to be monitored if vitals are outside of normal range. Strenuous physical activity with 50 pounds of gear in a fire tends to spike baseline vitals, so EMT students have to be quick-thinking. Students quickly learned staging an ambulance, patient assessment, immobilizing a patient, proper patient loading in an ambulance and transport operations.
These students remained calm under the pressure of the scene, which in a real-world situation can be chaotic at best. The EMT students were eager to help, quick to learn and professional with patients. Once they burned through the fear of patient contact, their confidence took over and they provided excellent patient care. EMT students are Kayla Harris (Guymon), Kei Harris (Avondale, Ariz.), Brandi Mueller (Guymon), DeVeonna Munson (Seattle, Wash.), Juan Ramirez (Huntington Park, Calif.) and Victor Saucedo (Boise City).
Oklahoma Panhandle State University and the Guymon Fire Department have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship based on education and community for more than 12 years. OPSU's fire protection program offers students the opportunity to work side-by-side with professional firefighters in Guymon while training to respond to emergencies. In addition, students can benefit by taking advantage of grants to use for Firefighter I and Emergency Medical Technician Basic and Intermediate training through GFD while pursuing an associate of applied science degree in fire protection service technology. That way, the student can offer a potential employer a complete package — a fully trained fire protection professional with experience and training in emergency response and rescue. Students also benefit from the Guymon Fire Department's training center that opened last summer. The four-story facility contains more than 2,000 square feet of training space used for confined space training, trench rescue training and rappelling. OPSU and the Guymon Fire Department proudly partner to provide education that addresses the continuing need for trained professionals to respond to fire and emergency medical calls in area communities.
Oklahoma Panhandle State University and PTCI, the area's local telecommunications cooperative, have sustained a mutually beneficial partnership over the past several years. The cooperative serves all of the Oklahoma Panhandle and northern Texas Panhandle with landline and cellular phone service, digital television and internet services. PTCI supports OPSU with generous financial contributions, but the two entities also collaborate on educational opportunities.
In fall 2004, PTCI and OPSU formalized a working partnership to produce local video content to air on PTCI’s interactive, digital television network. The OPSU-PTCI video production collaboration provides education for students and local programming for the cooperative. In addition to traditional classroom learning at OPSU, students benefit by learning all of the hands-on aspects of shooting, editing and producing professional-quality video. The program has produced additional coursework and increased PTCI’s output production. Past events covered include area public school athletic events, graduation ceremonies, community celebrations and documentaries of local interest. That partnership continues today, and in fact, two OPSU graduates now work for PTCI in video production. The program has expanded to include "Inside OPSU," a biweekly television show that features OPSU departments and airs on PTCI's local access cable channels.
PTCI also continues to support scholarships, athletic programs and building projects at OPSU. The local company was one of the first to donate funds to complete the student apartments on campus as well as the new Science and Agriculture Building.
PTCI's CEO Ron Strecker said, "It has been great to watch the appearance of the campus change over the past several years and PTCI is proud to have been supporter of some of those improvements."
In addition, the long-term relationship between the two has garnered PTCI an Economic Development Partnership Recognition award from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
According to OPSU President Dave Bryant, "PTCI is one of OPSU's premier partners in economic and community development in the Panhandle region and a tremendous supporter of education in all of its forms."
OPSU’s Krista X 2 = Success at Guymon City Offices
Oklahoma Panhandle State University students Krista Hawkins and Krista Johnson are also hard-working and valued interns serving the city of Guymon.
Hawkins, a senior from Guymon majoring in marketing, balances her studies with internship work as a tourist information assistant. She reports to Vicki Ayers-McCune, executive director of community development and the Business Enterprise Center.
Hawkins assists visitors as well as potential new residents who come to the community and also works with Ayers-McCune in graphic design. A former member of the OPSU rodeo team, Hawkins is considering a marketing career in the public sector, and she is receiving excellent preparatory training to do just that.
Johnson is a senior from Peyton, Colo., majoring in business finance. She is well known to area rodeo fans based upon her national championship in breakaway roping last summer at the college finals.
Johnson effectively balances studies and rodeo activities with her internship role working for Melissa Bond, city clerk. In her role with the city, Johnson assists with meeting preparation and minutes as well as with credit card reports. She is looking at continuing her balancing act after graduation – with work in the financial field and an eye on the professional rodeo circuit.
Both Kristas are excellent students and will someday be assuming leadership roles in their chosen fields.
Service learning is an important component of “The OPSU Experience,” and several students are finishing their respective educations as well as making strong contributions to area employers at the same time.
PTCI, a regional telecommunications provider, has supported Oklahoma Panhandle State University in a variety of ways over the years. The local cooperative continues to back the programming team, and they consistently provide employment opportunities for graduates and students. PTCI initially provided $35,000 for OPSU to purchase cameras, lighting and editing equipment for producing video. In return, OPSU offers video production classes to educate students. Instruction includes teaching proper use of the equipment and video editing techniques and filming of the community-wide events. What began as an ambitious learning project has evolved into an educational economic development opportunity. Due to the number of hours spent on production of each video project, PTCI added money this year to help fund a video production assistant for the program. “As the project matures, we anticipate revenue for OPSU from advertising, sale of videos, and marketing increased local content production,” said Diane Murphey, OPSU’s dean of business and technology. In addition, as faculty and students have gained in digital production experience, those teaching and learning in the program have produced more course work, integrated and recruited additional students, and increased output to be utilized by PTCI.
Tri-County Electric Cooperative and Oklahoma Panhandle State University are working together on several important projects this year. Tri-County provides financial support to the university for its “Community Service Learning,” a part of the OPSU School of Business. Each semester, as part of their studies, several students are assigned to work for and with area non-profit organizations in as many phases of that organization as possible. Area groups served by the OPSU Community Service Learning program in the past include the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, Guymon Chamber of Commerce, Texas County Election Board, OSU Extension and 4-H.
The Guymon Chamber of Commerce Education Committee asked for and worked with OPSU to offer continuing education and professional development classes in Guymon to promote the economic development of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Guymon remains the center of commerce for the widely scattered, isolated population of the Oklahoma Panhandle. OPSU has addressed the needs of the rapidly-growing Spanish speaking population by providing classes for employers and business people to learn basic Spanish conversational skills and also provides English classes for those with limited English proficiency. In addition, the Guymon Classroom provides convenient access to courses essential for any degree program, which benefits the general population.