Pella native Emma Kolb (above), an August 2023 graduate of the DMACC Paramedic certificate program and a 2021 Pella High School alum, displays a congratulatory card and stork pin she received from the DMACC Paramedic Program in early November. Kolb was recently hired as a fire medic with the Altoona Fire Department, and on Oct. 26 – just 10 days after earning her paramedic certification – she was part of a crew that responded to a call to assist a pregnant woman who had gone into labor on the third floor of an Altoona apartment complex. Kolb and two colleagues responding to the call were able to get the woman into a waiting ambulance, but as they began driving her to a Des Moines area hospital, they quickly realized her baby was planning on arriving sooner rather than later. The crew pulled the ambulance over along westbound Interstate 80, near the Highway 65 exit and mile marker 140.5, and soon after, the woman successfully delivered the baby into Kolb's arms in the back of the ambulance.
Kolb (above, center) joins Joel Otte (left), DMACC Paramedic Program Chair and Lead Instructor, and Dustyn Dickhaut (right), Coordinator of EMS and Fire Science Education at DMACC, for a celebratory photo on Nov. 1, at the Altoona Fire Department. In recognition of Kolb's efforts, Otte and Dickhaut presented Kolb with a stork pin, an emergency services tradition when someone helps deliver a baby.
Otte said many paramedics go their entire career without delivering a baby, making Kolb's experience as a newly minted fire medic even more remarkable.
With her colleagues cheering her on, DMACC alum and current Altoona Fire Department fire medic Emma Kolb (above, left) talks with KCCI-TV reporter Laura Terrell (center) about how she stayed calm while helping deliver a baby on the side of a major road. Kolb had earned her paramedic certification less than two weeks before going out on the memorable call. She said she chose to attend DMACC because its paramedic program has a strong reputation in the industry, offers in-person classes almost every day of the week and has affordable tuition.
Kolb (above, left), an August 2023 graduate of the DMACC Paramedic certificate program, and her Altoona Fire Department colleague Gabriel Rivera (right), a 2016 DMACC Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program alum, are all smiles while sporting new DMACC hats on Nov. 1 at the Altoona Fire Department.
Kolb and Rivera were part of the three-person crew that responded to a Oct. 26 call for a pregnant woman in labor in Altoona. The delivery moved very quickly, and while they were en route to the hospital, the crew realized they weren't going to make it there in time. Minutes later, Kolb ended up delivering a healthy baby boy in the back of the ambulance after the crew had pulled off onto the shoulder of I-80.
"The experience of helping deliver a baby, especially under those circumstances and so early in my career, was a privilege and something I'll always remember," Kolb said.
Both mother and baby are doing well.
To learn more about the DMACC Paramedic program, visit paramedic.dmacc.edu.