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Area Firefighter Hits the Books for Human Services

Regina Scates doesn't always know when she’s going to have to stop, drop and roll, but said the skills she has developed as a Bridgeport firefighter have come in handy in stressful situations.

Scates isn't just talking about when she’s at the firehouse, though. She remembered one instance in which she was shopping at the mall with a friend when she saw a man pass out in front of her.

“I tested his vital signs, told someone to call 911 and got him some water,” she said. “He ended up being a diabetic and his blood sugar was low.”

Scates is hoping to sharpen her skills even more this fall as an incoming student for IDEAL , an accelerated adult program, at the University of Bridgeport . She plans to earn a degree in human services to learn more about communication, public relations, and stress management so she can enhance her work as a firefighter.

“I want to help the public become more prepared for emergencies. In our community, I don’t believe we are really as prepared for loss and tragedy as we think we are,” Scates said.

While at the University of Bridgeport, she is also looking forward to learning a bit more about how to console people. Recently, she and her team of firefighters were faced with a situation in which an elderly woman was uncooperative and in need of medical assistance.

When they arrived at her home, Scates realized she already knew the woman — she had been a friend of her mother’s growing up. Once she recognized her familiar face and Scates addressed her by name, the woman started to relax.

“I spoke her name and it calmed her down,” she said. “That for me says I do have a great purpose here.”

When she isn't working, Scates and her children spend their Monday nights at the New England Prayer Center in Easton, where they stay in touch spiritually.

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