Former instructors speak out for student with blown ear drum


REDDING, Calif. - A Shasta College student can no longer follow her dream of being an EMT because an instructor intentionally set off a CO2 grenade during class April 3.

Heather Chinn is now deaf in her right ear after her ear drum was blown out. Chinn has just 65 percent of hearing in her other ear.

The on-campus blast happened during a mock active shooter simulation for a basic EMT training course.

"It's just a blatant disrespect towards students and their safety," said one of two former Shasta College EMT course instructors, who chose to keep their identities hidden due to fear of reprisal.

This harsh criticism comes from the trainers who firmly believe this beginners EMT training course should have solely focused on the basics.

"With this over and above training, real life simulation, it's just too much. It's too much for an entry-level, basic EMT class," explained the second former instructor who voiced concern for the course.

The former instructors decided to speak out, defending Chinn.

"I haven't heard anything since the blast. And every day I wake up, I just hope to hear something," Chinn said through tears.

"I want Heather to know the EMS people out here are thinking of her. And we do feel for her, and it's pretty upsetting that her career is pretty much squashed," explained a former EMT instructor.

There were about 45 students inside the classroom when the advanced tactical-type training drill happened on the Shasta College campus.

The former trainers believe setting off a destructive device in class, for the sake of a mock active shooter simulation, is far beyond the scope of what should be taught to beginners.

"Training these students in that atmosphere, I believe, is just, it's irresponsible," said one of the former trainers.

"Yes, these scenarios in real life do occur and we do need to be prepared. But to go to that extent is above and beyond what an entry-level EMT basic class should be," explained the other anonymous former trainer.

Shasta College did respond on this incident with the following statement: Shasta College places a high priority on student safety. We also take student privacy seriously and therefore we cannot comment on individual student situations. We are aware of the incident and are responding promptly and thoroughly.