Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are those on whose quick reaction and competence depend the lives of many people.
There are many types of accidents which need immediate medical assistance, such as car accidents, childbirth, heart attacks, gunshot wounds, and so on. Injured or sick people are cared for and transported to hospitals or other medical facilities by EMTs, who provide vital attention to a patient’s life. An EMT uses special equipment in order to secure the patient until he/she is in the care of doctors in a medical facility. If the patient has minor injuries, transportation to a medical facility may be considered unnecessary, as an EMT may have the training to treat patients with such injuries. Once they have arrived at the medical facility, the patients are transferred to the emergency department, where the EMT reports actions and observations to the staff in the emergency room. There are usually two EMTs on an ambulance, one driving and the other monitoring the vital signs of the patient. EMTs may also be part of the crew which transports critically injured patients by helicopter to hospitals. All of the above are general duties of an EMT.
There are several levels of qualification for EMTs, according to which EMTs may have other specific responsibilities. The proficiency levels for EMTs may be numerically rated from 1 to 4, or qualified as basic, intermediate and paramedic. There are many police officers or firefighters who have the first level EMT training because they are usually those who arrive first at the scene of the accidents and they must be able to provide basic medical care. The intermediate EMT level implies more advanced training, such as administrating intravenous fluids, using manual defibrillators, giving shocks in cases of cardiac arrest, and dealing with respiratory emergencies by applying advanced airway equipment and techniques.
EMT certification is needed in order to become an EMT or paramedic. The basic requirement for entering an EMT class within a formal training program is a high school diploma. The EMT certification procedure differs from one state to another, but once you have obtained the EMT certification, you must reregister every two years.
EMT certification follows training and examination. Training is offered progressively, from the basic level, or EMT 1 to the paramedic level, or EMT 4. An EMT class often combines theory with practice, in the sense that a lot of time is spent in an ambulance or in an emergency room. The EMT class for the basic level focuses on emergency skills such as managing different types of emergencies – respiratory, cardiac, trauma – and assessing the patient. The basic EMT certification is awarded after both practical and written examination and it represents a prerequisite for the next two levels of EMT certification – intermediate and paramedic.
EMT schools provide the necessary medical training for future EMTs, so that they will be able to do their job, using appropriate equipment. EMT certification requires the completion of a training program at any of the qualified EMT schools, and of course passing an exam. EMT schools teach students how to slow bleeding, clear airways, deal with cardiac arrest, perform childbirth, tend to fractures or wounds and administer medication.