My name is Galen McCarthy and I am a 1994 graduate of Minnesota West Community & Technical College and went on to graduate from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall a few years later.

I served as a volunteer firefighter for 19 years, and am currently employed as a part-time firefighter for the city of Mankato. I have been in education for over 23 years, and have taught fire and EMS instruction since 2003. My passion for teaching firefighters, EMS personnel and law enforcement has grown every year since I started teaching my first EMT refresher class in Ceylon. Years later, I added teaching firefighters as well.

Since I was a kid I wanted to be a firefighter. I wanted to save lives.

Have you ever watched “Emergency!”?

If you want to help your community — and help your family with skills that can save a life or help someone in need — consider joining your local fire department or ambulance service. The number of responders in our nation is at a critically low level. Communities are in need of responders. Some towns have lost their fire departments and/or ambulance services due to low numbers and lack of replacement personnel. This puts more demand on neighboring towns to respond and increases response time to get to emergencies in a timely manner.

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Our communities need trained responders. Consider joining. If you do, you are going to need training once you join. Or maybe you just want to be trained in CPR and First Aid.

Minnesota West offers all of that training, as well as continuing training for fire departments and EMS services and the public alike. We are adding new training opportunities for fire departments, and adding new props to aid in giving our responders in the area the best skills and knowledge to help them be ready for emergencies they will be called to across southwest Minnesota.

Whether you are fire, EMS, law enforcement, or a combination of those, we are all first responders, and all one team. To be effective at what we are called to do, we need the latest techniques and skill sets to be there when emergencies arise.

Minnesota West offers CPR and First Aid certification classes on and off campus. If you’re a fire department, consider being a host site for our 1001 classes. We offer an online class with three weekend skills sessions that can train you in three months. Or, we offer a once a week fire school face to face class for departments that wish more in-class instruction.

Minnesota West Fire and EMS customized training desires to train people to save lives, and to help keep our communities safe. Contact Minnesota West today and set up your training. We are here to train you to be the best.