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Consider career, volunteer opportunities in EMS

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 11:31 a.m. CDT

Have you ever called 911 for an emergency and wondered if someone would come? How long it would take for help to arrive?

This is a real concern for residents living in small towns. Emergency medical technicians and firefighters are becoming increasingly hard to find. In small communities (and even many large communities) many EMTs and firefighters volunteer their time to help their communities.     

Training for a pre-hospital career can take 60 to 1,000 hours, depending on what certification is desired. Emergency Medical Responders are the first medical people to arrive to a call.

EMRs are professionals trained in CPR and first aid to assist before the ambulance arrives.

The ambulance will have, at a minimum, one EMT and a driver. EMTs are trained in CPR and provide basic, non-invasive interventions at the scene and during transportation of patients to the hospital.

Some ambulances have an advanced EMT or a paramedic on staff. These providers have advanced skills and knowledge to treat life-threating injuries or medical conditions.  

Firefighters are also extensively trained in fire and rescue techniques and equipment.  They work side by side with medical personnel in the rescue of injured victims.

Even though many of these EMTs and firefighters are considered volunteers, they are trained professionals who will assist anyone during an emergency. EMTs and firefighters spend many hours every year attending classes and training on their own time away from their families.

Iowa Valley Continuing Education supports these individuals by offering formal training opportunities in their local communities. GAP tuition funding is available for those who qualify.

I encourage everyone to consider helping the community by taking a class and volunteering locally, or offering to pay for someone who can.

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