By Robert Avsec
The citizens EMS providers care for every day have high expectations for the care they will receive when they call for help. Beginning with the television show “Emergency!” in the 1970s, and continuing to the present day with shows like “Chicago Fire,” the public has been “informed and educated” about EMS in pop culture. (Perhaps not in all the ways we in EMS would like, but it’s happening nonetheless.)
Such an awesome responsibility can only be met by EMTs and paramedics who are knowledgeable, skilled and experienced in a wide variety of subject matter, including but not limited to:
- Provision of emergency medical care.
- Patient rescue from auto crashes, collapsed trenches and confined spaces.
- Containment of and patient rescue from hazardous materials spills and releases.
- Response to the consequences of natural disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms and floods.
The need for EMS agencies to provide required training and education isn’t only applicable to care providers. In today’s world, EMS paramedic chiefs are faced with ensuring that their personnel complete a wide variety of training requirements, such as:
- Vehicle operations courses that cover defensive driving techniques and strategies, safe backing procedures, fatigue and stress management, severe weather and distracted driving.
- OSHA-required workplace training — entry-level and annual or bi-annual refresher training — courses on avoiding slips, trips and falls; bloodborne pathogens, fire safety and extinguisher training, hazardous communication and safety data sheets; hearing conservation; office ergonomics; personal protective equipment; preventing back injuries; wellness and fitness; and workplace violence risk management.
- Soft skills courses that help build stronger and more resilient organizations through training in interpersonal communications, stress management, written and oral communications and employee/supervisor relations.
- Awareness courses that provide personnel with fundamental knowledge of various subject areas including workplace inspections, accident investigation, cultural diversity and discrimination, workplace harassment prevention and substance abuse .
Criteria for EMS training
To meet these challenges, EMTs and paramedics — and the supervisors who lead them — have a great need for quality training and education that is current, accessible and affordable. The body of knowledge expected of EMS providers continues to grow, yet for EMS agency leaders the challenge of providing the training that meets those three criteria is becoming increasingly difficult. Here is why: