Emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, are medical professionals who respond to emergency calls, usually by ambulance. Emergency medical technicians stabilize the patient on the scene, then transport them to the appropriate medical facility.
Emergency medical technicians receive formal training at a community college or vocational school. They can receive training at one of three levels. Each level builds upon the last. The levels are:
-Basic EMT. Training at the basic EMT level learn the most elementary skills required for work as an EMT. Examples of the skills they learn include: clerical skills and paperwork, assessing patients, dealing with cardiac and respiratory emergencies, dealing with the most common emergencies such as fractures and lacerations, and how to use emergency medical equipment like splits and oxygen equipment.
-Intermediate EMT. The training students receive at the intermediate EMT level are dictated by state requirements. However, students at this level usually learn advanced skills such as using more complicated medical equipment, the basics of medications, and administering intravenous fluids.
-Paramedics. At the most advanced level, an EMT studies to become a paramedic. Paramedics learn about the basics of human anatomy and physiology, as well as more advanced medical procedures. Most paramedic programs terminate in an associate’s degree.
After the EMT completes a level of training, he or she must become licensed by the state. Most states require recertification every two to three years, as well as ongoing education to keep abreast of the latest medical techniques and state requirements.
They respond to calls about a variety of emergency situations, such as heart attacks, car accidents, burns, falls, and seizures. They assess the patient on the scene, and provide enough medical treatment on the scene or en route to keep the patient stable while they are transported to a medical facility.
When the EMT arrives at the medical facility, he or she files a report about the incident and the medical services that were performed. These records are used by the hospital staff and physicians to treat the patient, as well as to file the insurance claims.
The EMTs may also be responsible for cleaning the ambulance or emergency vehicle, especially if the patient had a communicable disease or if the vehicle became contaminated by blood or other bodily fluids. They may also be responsible to the inventory and restocking of the medical equipment, and reporting any loss or damage of the durable medical equipment such as the stretchers.