Echo Hose Ambulance opens new ‘Community Educational Center’

Education has returned to the classrooms at the former St. Joseph School.

Echo Hose Ambulance Chief Michael Chaffee and Assistant Chief Joseph Laucella in one of the new training classrooms at 430 Coram Ave. — Kate Czaplinski photo

The Echo Hose Ambulance Community Educational Center opened earlier this month at 430 Coram Ave., officially moving training activities from Howe Avenue to the new space, shared with the Center Stage Education Center.

Space for more community trainings, a place for nonprofits to gather — and room for Echo Hose to  grow — are just a few of the benefits, according to Echo Hose Ambulance Chief Michael Chaffee and Assistant Chief Joseph Laucella.

“It’s a beautiful building and it’s really being repurposed in a unique way,” Laucella said. “We love having Center Stage upstairs. It’s creating a true educational community center, for all ages.”

Center Stage Theatre opened the satellite education space earlier this month, offering classes, camps, workshops and special programs people of all ages who are interested in the performing arts.

Located a floor below Center Stage, Echo Hose Ambulance is hosting a grand opening next Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., with free classes for adults and programs for kids, put on by the Center Stage and the Shelton Youth Service Bureau.

The new space has four classrooms available for training, complete with office furniture and technology donated by R.D. Scinto. Larger trainings will be held in the gymnasium, shared with Center Stage. In addition, Echo Hose has office space for staff upstairs.

The migration from Howe Avenue to Coram Avenue began back in June.

“It’s been a lot of work, by a lot of great people,” Chief Chaffee said of the move.

A $15,000 grant from the Katharine Matthies Foundation is offsetting the cost of the lease. Both Laucella and Chaffee said St. Joseph Parish has been wonderful through the entire process.

The two last week highlighted a long list of volunteers and contributors to the new center, including local businesses, the City of Shelton and area nonprofits that will be welcome to use the space for programs or meetings.

“We just outgrew our Howe Avenue space,” Laucella said. “Years ago, I don’t think any of us realized it would become as busy as it did.”

“Now, we have the capacity keep growing,’ Chaffee added.

In addition to EMT classes, Echo Hose coordinates EMT practical exams with the State of Connecticut and provides CPR and First Aid Training to residents of Shelton and the Valley. Laucella notes that EMR training, starting in early October, is open to anyone, ages 14 and up. It’s a great opportunity for students interested in public safety or the medical field, he said.

The center also offers bi-monthly Emergency Medical Technician re-certification classes. The center will host upcoming Department of Homeland Security and FEMA funded programming for first responders from all over the state, as well as, Shelton Emergency Services.

Several nonprofits and organizations will be holding programs in the space, including Valley United Way, Team Inc., BHCare, Naugatuck Valley Health District/Medical Reserve Corps.

The local C.A.R.E.S. (Community Addiction and Recovery Education and Support) chapter meets weekly at the new center.  

“We’ve barely opened our doors and we already have 25 community events booked,” Laucella said.

Open house

On Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., the public is invited to the open house, hosted with support of  BHCare, C.A.R.E.S, Valley Parish Nurses, Shelton Youth Service Bureau, Shelton Emergency Management and the Naugatuck Valley Health District.

Adults can take free CPR with AED Training, Bleeding Control training, a Narcan Administration class, or the Hidden in Plain Sight program for parents looking for signs of underage drinking or drug use. Free programs with Center Stage and the Youth Service Bureau will be offered for kids.

The open house includes a free breakfast and lunch, provided by Big Y, Dunkin Donuts on Howe Avenue and Outback Steakhouse.

“This couldn’t be possible without the community coming together,” Laucella said.

Registration is not required for the open house, but appreciated. Learn more at EchoHose.org, by clicking on “Training Center.”

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