(TNS) - Aaron Bogan is only a freshman at Denham Springs High School, but he already knows he wants to pursue a medical career.
In order to solidify his future plans, Bogan is considering becoming one of the newest certified first responders in Baton Rouge through the Emergency Medical Services Explorer program.
Since 1983, the program, organized under the same umbrella as the Boy Scouts of America, has offered teens and young adults training and mentoring through medical care experience and ambulance ride-along's.
Bogan and about 75 other potential trainees and their parents gathered Thursday at the program's “First Nighters” to learn more about the requirements before signing up for the 48 hours of training before they are allowed to wear their uniform and join the ride-along's. About 20 to 30 people participate every year, said EMS spokesman Mike Chustz, but some years could have as many as 100 students.
Chustz said the main goal is to give experience to people like Bogan who have an interest in the field. While some walk away realizing it’s not for them, Chustz said, others stay hooked on a medical profession, including 14 current paramedics with the Baton Rouge EMS who completed the explorer program.
Cameron Borne, now a freshman at Baton Rouge Community College, joined the program last year. Since finished his training, Borne has spent 1,200 hours in nine months riding along in an ambulance and helping out at LSU and Southern University football games.
During his hours with paramedics, Borne has taken blood pressures and prepared IV bags. After his experiences, Borne has committed to a career as a paramedic.
“I kind of like the adrenaline rush … helping (patients) and getting the thanks means a lot,” said Borne, who was presented Thursday with the Explorer of the Year award.
Sandra Miller, one of the trainers, gave Borne his award with a big hug and a smile. Miller said the responsibility helped participants learn responsibility and loyalty as they work together and elect their own president and board.
"This is their program so they have to manage the entire thing," Miller said. "We just stand back and guide and direct."
The Baton Rouge Fire Department recently started planning its own Explorer program, Chustz said. Former interim Baton Rouge Police Chief Jonny Dunnam said in September the department planned to revive its own program after a 26-year gap.
Students ages 14 to 20 with a C average in school are eligible to apply to the annual programs.
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