ECC Center for Emergency Services: Open-House Event

Michelle Doherty, Digital Editor

Elgin Community College Center for Emergency Services held their first open-house on Saturday Oct. 15 for an anticipated crowd of 500 people. The event took place on ECC’s Burlington campus from 12pm to 3pm. 

The public was invited to come out and explore what the Center for Emergency Services has to offer.

 Local emergency service personnel attended the event and an open lot was lined with two rows of emergency service vehicles that attendees could touch and get inside of. 

Senior Director of Academic Programming & Public Safety Training, Ron Two Bulls, said that 500 people RSVP’d on Facebook for the event. He said 70 people showed up to the informational meeting that was held an hour prior to the open house event.  

Two Bulls said that all of the instructors and teaching personnel at ECC’s Center for Emergency Services are still working in the field that they are teaching. He said they have an opportunity to use their experience to teach students what is currently happening in the fields.

“Gives you a huge advantage as a student,” Two Bulls said. “To see what’s going on now, to see the best practices. Not just textbook, not just theory, it’s what is happening now in the field.”

There is a high demand in the job market for firefighters and emergency medical services Two Bulls said. He said if a student gets their basic operations firefighter, goes through emergency medical technician training as well as getting a paramedic license their success rate is high.  

“We have defined pathways on how they can get there,” Two Bulls said. “We have it mapped out for them. If they find us as a resource as ECC we can take them right to getting hired from start to finish.”

He said that if a student succeeds in those certifications and licenses they’re in the 90 percentile of getting employed full time. For any student that is on the fence about a career in emergency services Two Bulls said that it is a rewarding career.

“I did 31 years in the service,” said Two Bulls. “It was the best years of my life just serving the public. There’s no better feeling. No more rewarding career as far as I’m concerned, and the nobility of it is an amazing opportunity to serve the public…it’s just a great feeling.”

Two bulls just recently retired as battalion chief of the Buffalo Grove Fire Department. 

One of the speakers at the event was Jennifer Rakow the chair of the ECC Board of Trustees. In her speech she said that 2017 was the first graduating class of the Center for Emergency Services. Since then 138 students have graduated from the program.  

Rakow said 17 district fire departments sponsor ECC’s emergency service programs. She said that when a fire department is hiring and they see the person went to ECC they will usually go with them as their hire. 

“They actively seek out our graduates,” Rakow said. 

She said the Center for Emergency Services has had an influx of women and minorities entering the program.  

“They reflect the people they serve,” Rakow said. 

Meg Krase is a social worker for the Carpentersville Police Department. She is responsible for Walter, who is a therapy K-9. They were both representatives of Carpentersville’s Police Department that were at the open-house event. 

Walter wears a harness that says police therapy dog on the sides with a police badge in the front. 

“When he puts on his vest he knows he’s at work,” Krase said. 

Walter works with children involved in traumatic situations; he is also there to support police officers who have experienced trauma while on the job. Walter is there to help victims and police officers process what they’ve been through. 

“The way that I usually describe having Walter is like having the world’s biggest fidget spinner,” said Krase. “Because you’ve got to do something while you process.”  

They both went out with 100 Club to Highland Park this summer to work with the first responders. Once Walter is let off his leash he will seek out a first responder that needs his services. Krase said that she’s seen him curl up in the laps of officers. 

Walter and Krase were part of many first responders that were at ECC’s Center of Emergency Services first open house event. 

The Center for Emergency Services opened its doors in the spring of 2016 and is located on ECC’s Burlington campus between cornfields on Plank Rd.