Threefold increase in BCCC paramedic graduates

Published 4:10 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fifteen students graduated from Beaufort County Community College’s paramedic course Nov. 8. The program had three times as many graduates as the previous class.

Chris Newkirk, operations chief of emergency management, spoke about the perception of emergencies.

“What may seem trivial to you, is an emergency to the person you are responding to,” he said.

Billy Respass, EMS program director, emphasized the difficulty of the program, but also the close-knit community of first responders. He also announced Brian Hodges as the top student in the 2017 class.

Included in this class were spouses Brandon Williams and Brittany Williams, along with Ray Harris and his sons Brandon and Darren. Christopher Boyd, Ryan Davis, Brandon Elks, Brian Hodges, Nathan Lapp, Lauren Jones, James Meeks, Julie Parker, Steven Thompson and Wesley Waters were also among the graduates.

The course readies students to provide advanced medical care for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency services. Paramedics function as part of a comprehensive EMS response under medical oversight. They perform interventions with the basic and advanced equipment typically found on an ambulance.

A new emergency training facility is in the design phase. It will include a driving pad used to teach students to operate emergency vehicles. The facility will also include classrooms and storage space that will allow the college to secure existing equipment like its training ambulance. As part of the course, students must learn to perform techniques properly with the training ambulance is moving.

Successful graduates receive a curriculum certificate and are qualified to seek state certification through the N.C. Office of Emergency Medical Services.

Students interested in more information about the paramedic program should contact Billy Respass at 252-940-6468 or