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EMS providers: On the frontline of healthcare every day

May 17, 2017

They faithfully serve their communities, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At the scene within minutes, the medical care they provide for patients often means the difference between life and death. Even when life-saving maneuvers are not required, the care and compassion they show to their patients can help bring calm to a stressful situation.

They are your emergency medical services or EMS providers.

In honor of National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, Kettering Health Network would like to recognize and show appreciation for this army of unsung heroes, who are the front line of healthcare and an integral part of the communities they serve.

The role of an EMS provider is to deliver out-of-hospital, acute medical care; transport to a healthcare facility; and other medical transport to patients who, due to injury or illness, cannot transport themselves.

“EMS providers are often the lifeline for patients between the location of the incident and the healthcare facility to which they are being transported,” said William Mangas, director of trauma and EMS outreach for Kettering Health Network.

Types of EMS

Communities can provide emergency medical services to their residents in a variety of ways:

  • Fire department: This is the most common means for providing EMS to a community.
  • EMS department: Sometimes fire and EMS services, though housed in the same location, are run as completely separate entities.
  • Private ambulance service

“People wonder why both the fire department and EMS will arrive at the scene, especially when there isn’t a fire reported,” said Mangas. “Sometimes, getting a patient from the scene of the incident into the ambulance is difficult for the two EMS providers alone. Having the fire department there makes the lifting of the patient easier, safer, and faster.”

Types of EMS certification

There are several different types of EMS certifications available, each with the ability to provide different levels of care:

  • Emergency medical responder: Also known as first responders, these individuals perform lifesaving care until the ambulance or higher trained provider arrives on the scene. Skill training includes hemorrhage control, spine stabilization, and CPR. “Law enforcement officers are often the first responders,” explained Mangas.
  • Emergency medical technician (EMT): These technicians are certified to perform a wide range of emergency care skills, such as automated external defibrillation (AED), spinal care, oxygen therapy, basic airway procedures, and the administration of limited drugs.
  • Advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT): Technicians with this certification are able to begin IV therapy, administer a wider list of medications, perform endotracheal intubations, and monitor EKGs.
  • Paramedic: These technicians have received a high level of prehospital medical training and are able to function more independently than EMTs. Keys skills they are able to perform include IV insertion with the ability to administer a wider range of drugs, including morphine; cardiac monitoring; advanced airway techniques; and assessment of cardiac issues and appropriate intervention/best hospital options. To be certified at this level requires completion of a two-year (associate) degree program.

How to become certified

“Most vocational schools and community colleges offer EMT/paramedic certification programs,” said Bob Kidd, director of Kettering Mobile Care, one of the largest hospital-branded fleets in Ohio. “EMT certification is a relatively short three-to-four-month certification program, and then you’re employment-ready with lots of opportunity here in the greater Dayton area.”

Both Kidd and Mangas agree that, not only is the job of an EMS provider a rewarding one, but the job market locally and nationally is ripe with opportunity for those interested in this profession.

“EMS providers truly make a difference in the lives of the people they serve,” said Kidd. “You may not always remember their names, but you will never forget the way they cared for you.”

Take a moment to thank an EMS provider in your community.

Click here for more information on how to become an EMS provider.