EMT classes offer education for a variety of medical careers. Many students take these classes for different jobs available in emergency rescue. Understanding the procedures and requirements followed in EMT classes can create qualified technicians with many opportunities then available.
Healthcare providers who belong to emergency medical teams span several fields. Members of the fire and police departments, combat and ambulance crews and search and rescue squads are required to undergo this specialized training. These technicians are responsible for stabilizing patients for transport to hospitals or other facilities for advanced medical treatments.
The essential functions of medical field technicians involve the stabilization of breathing and ensuring cardiovascular circulation. Interventions include performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), controlling external bleeding, splinting bone fractures, immobilizing the body to prevent spinal injury, and using a defibrillator. The defibrillator delivers a therapeutic dose of electricity to the heart to stimulate a normal heart-beat rhythm.
Levels of Emergency Medical Technicians
Basically, there are four levels of emergency medical technician certifications. The B, or Basic, is the entry level. To qualify, applicants must complete a minimum of 110 hours of classroom study and pass an exam. Procedures performed by these specialists are non-invasive. They include full spinal immobilization, control of bleeding, administering supplemental oxygen and performing CPR.
Additionally, B-level medics are trained to supply positive pressure ventilation. This involves forcing air into the lungs, usually with a bag valve mask or mechanical ventilator.
Level B technicians are also skilled in the insertion of oropharyngeal airways. These curved, tubular devices are inserted into patients’ mouths to maintain open airways. They prevent tongues from slipping back and blocking breathing pathways. If injuries prevent the use of these devices, nasopharyngeal airways may be used. They are similar but are inserted into the nose rather than the mouth.
The two intermediate levels of certification are I/85 and I/99. The latter is the more advanced stage. These levels require 200 to 400 hours of classroom training and the successful completion of a skills and knowledge test. The I/85 technician is qualified to perform some invasive procedures, such as IV insertion. They are also trained in the insertion of multi-lumen airway devices. These advanced airway devices include the Esophageal Tracheal Combitube.
The I/99 level requires additional training time. Certified techs at this level are qualified to administer pharmaceutical medications. They can also competently perform cardiac monitoring.
Becoming a Paramedic
The most advanced category is the paramedic. These candidates receive a minimum of 1,000 hours of classroom training. Upon certification, they are qualified to provide the highest level of pre-hospital care. Their skills include fluid resuscitation, IV therapy, cardiac monitoring, and pharmaceutical administration.
There are three categories of ambulance services that are related to the certification levels of their teams. Basic Life Support (BLS) units have technicians certified at the Basic level. Intermediate Life Support teams include I/85 and I/99 certified techs. Advanced Life Support units can provide the most comprehensive, intensive care in the field. They are staffed with paramedics.