Posted: August 27, 1998

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

How often does a person get a chance to see the inside of an ambulance when they are feeling good?

Today through Saturday, visitors to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair will have the rare opportunity to examine an ambulance up close and hear how paramedics are trained at Inver Hills Community College.

The ambulance on display is a newly remodeled vehicle with state-of-the-art emergency equipment. Al Erickson, director of the Emergency Health Services program at Inver Hills, said fair visitors will get a good idea of the hands-on training it takes to become an emergency medical technician. Using the life-like dummy called "Ambu-Man," instructors such as Kevin Johnson will demonstrate how patients are served in an emergency situation.

"It takes a lot of nerve and intestinal fortitude to do emergency medical work," said Johnson. "I tell my students they have to be prepared for hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror."

An increase in the number of TV shows such as "Rescue 911" has sharpened the public's interest in emergency medical training. Johnson said every time there is a dramatic episode, he receives inquiries about how to enroll in the Inver Hills program.

"It's an exciting lifestyle," said Johnson. "There is something different every day. But people who get into this must have a strong desire to serve the public. They have to be the type of caring individual who is able to work through some really bad situations on a daily basis. We see things every day that people really shouldn't be seeing."

Inver Hills offers a two-year associate of science degree that is designed to lead to a four-year bachelor's degree in emergency health services at the University of Minnesota. For students not seeking a degree, Inver Hills offers a nine-month certificate program in paramedic training.