EMT program sophomore prepares to be a firefighter

Libby Mattern, Staff Writer

Renato Avendano poses for a photo on Feb. 6. (Dominic Di Palermo)

Renato Avendano is not your traditional sophomore. Avendano traded his books in for oxygen tanks and portable monitors. Renato is in Elgin Community College’s EMT program.

A typical school week for Avendano includes a class that meets on three different days, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Each class is three hours long for a total of nine hours a week.

“It’s a pretty fast-moving class, we cover a lot of content and move through it,” said Avendano. 

Avendano shared that he plans to further his education to become a paramedic and get a degree in fire science. Being an EMT is the first level before becoming a paramedic, which requires more knowledge of complicated medical procedures. 

“Ideally I would get in with a fire department and once I get my foot in the door, I’d get my degree in fire science,” explained Avendano.

Avendano’s mother helped guide him to a decision about his a career after being unsure if the Marines would accept him due to a a past hip injury. 

“One day during the summer my mom looked at me and she was like do you want to be a firefighter?” Avendano recalled. “After that it kind of clicked”

School isn’t the only thing that Avendano occupies his schedule with. He enjoys going to the gym, studying with classmates from the EMT program, and working  as a physical therapy assistant.