First on the Scene When Emergency Strikes
A 911 call goes out, and an ambulance races to the scene. Who are the people that respond to emergency situations? What training have they had?
Depending on the severity of the emergency, either an emergency medical technician (EMT) or a paramedic will respond. The training required for EMTs varies by state, but 34 states subscribe to testing by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. This organization recognizes and certifies four levels of training:
- Responder: 40 hours of training required. Responders render emergent initial care that generally does not necessitate specialized equipment. Most responders can, however, administer oxygen and use cardiac defibrillators to normalize heart rhythms.
- EMT Basic: a minimum of 110 hours of training is required in many states. EMT Basics perform the same maneuvers as responders, but in addition can apply splints, bandagesemergency first on the scene, and so forth.
- EMT Intermediate: at least 250 hours of training is required, depending on the state. EMT Intermediates have essential skills beyond basic emergency care, including the administration of intravenous fluids and the use of some advanced airway equipment.
- Paramedics: 400 hours of training is required in many states, though some states require 1,500 hours. Paramedics perform a full range of advanced life support maneuvers, including chest compression, surgical airway procedures, and electrocardiograms (to evaluate heart conditions), as well as administering life-saving drugs.
While the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians provides testing and certification, EMTs are also licensed by their home states.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of structured Emergency Medical Services in the United States. The Health Alliance joins the rest of the country in honoring EMS providers during EMS Week, May 16 – 22.
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