Saving lives in the midst of graduate school: MPA students double as Las Vegas firefighters
From left, USC Price School online students Andrew Padilla, Ryan Tyler and Adam Weiss, who are all members of the Clark County Fire Department. (Photo courtesy: Ryan Tyler)
A few months ago, Adam Weiss led a crew of Las Vegas-area firefighters to one of the worst scenes imaginable: a four-year-old child drowning in an apartment pool. Weiss, a captain paramedic for the Clark County Fire Department, tactically approached the situation to ensure an efficient response. They found the child in cardiac arrest, provided advanced life support and after seven minutes, the child’s pulse returned.
“In our industry, this is the best result you can attain” – being able to take a living patient to the hospital, Weiss said.
Adam Weiss. (Photo courtesy: Adam Weiss)
This is the kind of life-saving work three MPA online students, Adam Weiss, Andrew Padilla, and Ryan Tyler, do every day as Clark County firefighters.
Being a firefighter in Las Vegas presents unusual challenges. With vacationers and gamblers partying around the clock, fire stations must stay open all night. However, these three community heroes do not stop working after saving lives, they are each simultaneously pursuing degrees through the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program online.
Padilla and Tyler are both engineer paramedics, meaning they drive the emergency vehicles and monitor the water flow coming from fire hydrants. Also, they are in charge of any medical assistance needed at the scene. Weiss serves in a leadership role, in charge of a group of first responders.
The MPA online program provides them the flexibility to succeed and grow in their careers. In his free time, Tyler participates in the local firefighters’ union. Pursuing the MPA online program gives him the opportunity to learn about municipal government.
Andrew Padilla. (Photo courtesy: Andrew Padilla)
“I wanted to understand more of the interaction between government officials and our union officials and how those work together,” Tyler said. “I think this program really helped me to understand some of the nuances and some of the challenges.”
Ryan Tyler, left. (Photo courtesy: Ryan Tyler)
Weiss adds that the program has given him a unique opportunity to learn from his peers’ and professors’ diverse experiences and perspectives. He says, “I also think that the more highly educated people we have in the department that have had access to other ways of thinking, it makes us more diverse and makes us be able to do more for our current fire department and the county as well.”
Read the full USC Price story.