Thursday, March 24, 2011

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Teens from Tri-County area showcase design and engineering skills at FIRST Robotics Competition

Students Learn Problem Solving and Teamwork in Addition to Designing and Building Robots by Working with Professional Mentors to participate at Palmetto Regional, March 24-26.

High-school students from 8 states and the Tri-County-area schools will have the opportunity to showcase their hard work after an intense six weeks of designing and building an original robot in the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition ( This week, at the North Charleston Coliseum, 43 teams of students and engineering and technical Mentors will demonstrate their skill for science, mathematics, and technology. They will compete for honors and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and communities.  There is no charge for admission.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, who introduced the IBOT Mobility System and the Segway® Human Transporter (HT), FIRST was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities. Now in its 20th season, the FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates close to 2,075 teams from 48 states in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Turkey, and the United Kingdom to compete in 49 regional competitions. More than 1,000 students will compete at the Palmetto Regional to earn a spot at the Championship to be held April 27-30 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO.

“It’s not about the robots,” said FIRST founder Dean Kamen. “It’s much bigger than that. It’s about building self-confidence, respect, and important relationships with people who invent new technologies and work to make the future better than the past.”

Local organizer and Citadel professor Dr. Jason Skinner stated, “Society celebrates achievement in sports and entertainment, yet we often overlook achievements in academia.  FIRST has devised unique robotics games that spark the competitive interest of participants and onlookers, but it is richly based in science, technology, engineering, and math.

North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey said, “FIRST provides an education and career path for young people who might not otherwise have discovered an interest in and pursued education and careers in science and technology.  We are honored to be the host city for the FRC Palmetto Regional and look forward to an action-packed and educational weekend.”

This season, participating FIRST students are eligible to apply for more than $14 million in scholarships from leading universities and colleges. Scholarship announcements will be made at the FIRST Championship in April.

Over a six-week timeframe, students work with professional engineering Mentors to design a robot that solves a problem using a Kit of Parts and a standard set of rules. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students. In this year’s robotics game, “LOGO MOTION™, two alliances of three teams will compete on a 27-by-54-foot field with poles, attempting to earn points by hanging as many triangle, circle, and square logo pieces as possible. Bonus points will be earned for each robot that can hang and assemble logo pieces to form the FIRST logo. Robots can also deploy Mini-Bots to climb vertical poles for a chance to earn additional points.

This year's game


Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and more than $14 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL™) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism™ is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

All North Charleston Fire Department personnel to receive EMT-B training

The North Charleston Fire Department has been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the U.S. Fire Administration to train all personnel to the level of Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B).

North Charleston Fire Department

The total grant allocation is $160,000.  Last Thursday, March 17, 2011, the North Charleston Finance Committee approved $32,000 in matching funds to be combined with $128,000 from federal funding sources.  The matching funds require a final reading at City Council on Thursday, March 24, 2011 for full approval.

Currently, the North Charleston Fire Department has 229 personnel of which most are certified to provide emergency medical response at the First Responder level, a 56 hour program that meets U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Guidelines.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant will increase the level of medical training for all personnel to EMT-B, which requires 144 hours of training.  EMT-Bs provide basic life support, typically procedures including CPR, automated external defibrillation, mechanical ventilation, placement of air way adjuncts, splinting, and suctioning.  In addition, EMT-Bs are trained to assist patients with administration of preprescribed nitroglycerin, metered-dose inhaler, and epinephrine auto injectors.

The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, Assistance to Firefighters Grant has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

“This grant will allow us to significantly improve our capability in providing initial medical response in coordination with Charleston County EMS,” stated North Charleston Fire Chief Greg Bulanow.

“Having a certified EMT-basic on scene with EMS has proven nationally to be of a great benefit and is very important to the overall care of the patient. We are looking forward to working with North Charleston with this project,” stated Charleston County EMS Director Don Lundy.

Why EMT-B training is important to North Charleston
  • NCFD medical responses have increased by more than 300% since 2004 and now make up more than two thirds of total call volume.
  • The NCFD responds to only the most serious medical incidents by using dispatching protocols that identify the severity of the need.  In 2010, the NCFD responded to approximately 5,400 of the approximately 16,000 total medical calls in North Charleston.  This ensures that the fire crews are still available to respond to fires while providing the fastest care to those with immediate life-threatening medical needs.  
  • Some of the factors that contribute to the increased call volume include: 
    • The City is thriving and continuing to grow both in size and density.   
    • The American population is aging as the baby boomers reach retirement age.   Seniors tend to move to urban areas and generally place more of a demand on emergency medical services.  
    • The economic downturn in the US economy has caused many more people to be uninsured or underinsured.  They may wait until an emergency occurs before they confront a medical situation.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Green Grove Community Center Ground Breaking

The City of North Charleston will broke ground on its newest community center at 2634 Bennett Yard Road on Thursday, March 17, 2011.

Green Grove Community Center will become North Charleston’s 19th community center.  The center will be utilized for neighborhood association meetings, afterschool programming, senior activities, and will be a summer camp site.

Prior to the ceremony, Mayor Summey stated, “The residents of Green Grove have always been involved in neighborhood activities, but have lacked a common location to gather.  This is a terrific expansion of recreational and civic services offered to the citizens of our city.”

Child Passenger Safety for Parents and Caregivers

Child in Nautilus 3-in-1 CarseatAre you confident that you are installing and using your child's safety seat correctly?  It is known that 3 our of every 4 seats are not.

Join us March 30, 2011, 6:00 pm at Fire Station 4 at 7270 Cross County Road for this free child passenger safety course.

Nationally, motor vehicle collisions are the #1 killer of children and adults ages 1 to 44.  Learn about the basics of child passenger safety and how to ensure that every time your child rides in a motor vehicle they are as safe as possible.  This 1 hour interactive session is hosted by Nationally Certified Car Seat Technicians.

It could save your child's life.

For more information and to register, call 843-792-5327 or 843-740-2647.