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Biscuitsjam
04-11-2007, 14:09
I've been considering becoming an EMT as a volunteer or part-time job. I spent several hours reading back through this forum, and, at this stage, I want to do a ride-along to see how I like it. Any advice on how to go about it or what to do would be appreciated.


A bit about me:
I'm in the Georgia Army National Guard and saw action in Iraq. Before deploying, I went to a Combat LifeSaver class (40 hrs, similar to first responder), and I've kept my certification current. However, I wasn't really comfortable with my level of training, and that really struck home when one of the guys on patrol with me got shot. Since I was a gunner, I continued to provide security while the soldier was treated and then driven 45 minutes back to base over rough roads.

So, I want to play a more active role in my community, and I also really want to get a higher level of training.


What do I need to know about Georgia State Laws? What is an EMT-B authorized to do in our state? What does a guy with that cert just starting out usually do? Is EMT-I required for ambulance work in my state?

And, is there anything special I need to know before requesting a ride-along with a local company?

kc4zgk
04-11-2007, 14:33
Hello, I myself work as a firefighter here in Georgia and am in the process of finishing up my EMT-I. As a EMT-B in Georgia you are pretty much limited to a First Responder level of care with the exception of administering a Epi-pen and doing a D-Stick and to the best of my knowledge you can NOT work on a ambulance as a EMT-B. As a EMT-I you will be able to do a little bit more as well as work on a ambulance. The certification is around 275 hours. You can apply for a Hope Grant and go to a Technical School. My department has its own training so it does not cost anything where I work. Take care....Ed

Biscuitsjam
04-11-2007, 15:49
I called the county EMS and they said they don't do ride-alongs, part-time, or volunteers. I then called a small private company and left a message with their "Director of Operations" asking him to call me back.

I'm going to look into the EMT-I schools around here and see how long that takes. I think that the Montgomery GI Bill (and other military programs/scholarships) would pay for the schooling.

mkh100
04-11-2007, 17:16
Might try a local Volunteer Fire Dept. They usually have/are EMTs or work directly with your County EMS system. Not the same thing as a ride along on an ALS rig, but it might help get your feet wet. My VFD is putting me through Basic Firefighter training and helping to defer the cost of EMT training that I start in May.

Volunteer Fire Depts. will vary, so you may have to contact a few to find something close to what you want.

EMT is usually the designated driver on an ALS rig here in Central Florida. THe EMT will assist with patient care at the scene, then drive the patient to the hosp. while the Paramedic rides in the back administering aid to the patient. EMT is the pre-req. for admission to Paramedic programs here in Florida, and are often considered a "first step" toward becoming a Paramedic.

EMT scope is BLS or "basic life support" its like advanced first aid. EMT typically takes 1 semester at a junior college or vocational school. Pay around here is $10-$15 hr. Most EMTs work shifts 24hrs on then 48hrs off, so it averages out better than a 40 hour week.

ALS or "advanced life support" is the Paramedic. He/she does all the stuff an EMT can do plus, push drugs, start IV therapy, perform intubations, and other advanced life support protocals in administering aid to a patient. You have to have your EMT to apply to Paramedic school. Paramedic takes about 1 year (3 semesters) to complete at a junior college. Paramedics start at about $15 to $20 an hour and typically work shifts like the EMTs. Some hospitals hire Paramedics to work in the ER

DaleGribble
04-12-2007, 07:10
Originally posted by mkh100
Might try a local Volunteer Fire Dept. They usually have/are EMTs or work directly with your County EMS system. Not the same thing as a ride along on an ALS rig, but it might help get your feet wet. My VFD is putting me through Basic Firefighter training and helping to defer the cost of EMT training that I start in May.

Volunteer Fire Depts. will vary, so you may have to contact a few to find something close to what you want.

EMT is usually the designated driver on an ALS rig here in Central Florida. THe EMT will assist with patient care at the scene, then drive the patient to the hosp. while the Paramedic rides in the back administering aid to the patient. EMT is the pre-req. for admission to Paramedic programs here in Florida, and are often considered a "first step" toward becoming a Paramedic.

EMT scope is BLS or "basic life support" its like advanced first aid. EMT typically takes 1 semester at a junior college or vocational school. Pay around here is $10-$15 hr. Most EMTs work shifts 24hrs on then 48hrs off, so it averages out better than a 40 hour week.

ALS or "advanced life support" is the Paramedic. He/she does all the stuff an EMT can do plus, push drugs, start IV therapy, perform intubations, and other advanced life support protocals in administering aid to a patient. You have to have your EMT to apply to Paramedic school. Paramedic takes about 1 year (3 semesters) to complete at a junior college. Paramedics start at about $15 to $20 an hour and typically work shifts like the EMTs. Some hospitals hire Paramedics to work in the ER

While your post is probably correct for Florida (I'm not doubting that it is) the information does not apply to other states.

I'm an EMT-I in SC and I can do nasal/endotracheal intubation, combitube, LMA, start IV's and can push D50. I also get to be lead person on a unit due to our paramedic shortage. So in some places EMT's aren't just "drivers" and we're considered ALS.

FirNaTine
04-12-2007, 12:28
I posted this in a previous thread. Here is MD's scope for EMT-I with a few changes since last time.

NREMT-I '99 in Maryland

Drugs: c = consult so = standing order
All meds listed are those carried by EMS

adenosine - c (so for emt-p)
albuterol - so
aspirin - c (so for emt-p)
atropine - so
calcium chloride - c
D50/D25(peds)/D10(newborn) - so
diazepam - c (so for emt-p for active seizure)
diltiazem - c
diphenhydramine - so
dopamine - c
epinephrine Iv/IM/ - so
epi neb - c
furosemide - c
glucagon - so
haloperidol - (emt-p only, must consult)
ipratropium - so
lidocaine - so
morphine - c (so for emt-p for isolated injuries/burns)
narcan iv/im/intranasal - so
nitroglycerin - so
sodium bicarb - c
terbutaline IM - so

These are for primary uses and most circumstances, for example glucagon is standing order for hypoglycemia,
but is consult for calcium channel blocker overdose.

Selected Skills:
Iv access limb and external jugular - so
intraosseus - so
EKG 3 lead and 12 lead - so
defib/cardiversion/ pacing - so
capnography - so
combitube (dual lumen airway) - so
cpap - so
Orotracheal intubation, laryngoscopy, and forceps- so
nasotracheal intubation - emt-p only
Needle decompression thoracostomy - c (live patient if time allows, so for traumatic arrest)

Biscuitsjam
04-12-2007, 13:44
Thanks for the help so far!

If I like what I see on the ride-along (whoever ends up giving me one), I'm going to take EMT classes in the evening when I go back to school next semester (probably paid for by the GI Bill). These are a few of the questions I'm going to be asking on the ride-along, but I'd also appreciate answers if anyone here wants to give them.

1. Would I expect to start going on the road immediately after getting my certification, or do a lot of departments require some other kind of duty or training for new people?

2. So, I assume that the new guy helps provide care on the scene, but usually drives to/from there while the more experienced guy stays in the back with the patient. Is that correct? At what point does that start to change?

3. What kind of familiarization training is given on how to drive those big clunky ambulances?

4. That means that the job would require familiarity with the local road system and so forth. As a new guy starting a different town, how is that generally handled? Extensive time going over maps? Fancy GPS gizmos? Using your off-time to cruise around and learn the area? The experienced guy sitting up front and pointing out turns?

5. There would also be two levels of service (Advanced and Basic). How are the types of calls differentiated? How often do dispatchers send the BLS crews out to calls that end up needing ALS service or vice versa?

6. How would my responsibilities differ on a BLS truck versus an ALS truck? Would it even be a realistic scenario for a new guy to be on an ALS truck?

7. I assume there is a lot of downtime between calls. Would it be reasonable to expect to learn a lot from more experienced EMTs during this time? Or, if taking college classes during the same time period, would it be reasonable to expect to get any studying in?

8. How are volunteer and part-time guys handled? Do they normally do 24-hour shifts on Saturday/Sunday? Shorter 4-12 hour shifts during peak times during the week?

9. Am I more likely to be thrown in way over my head or only allowed to try new things at a snail's pace?

10. What else am I missing?

kc4zgk
04-12-2007, 14:19
1. You would go on the road as a 3rd rider for a period oftime ( At least that is the way it is done here ).
2. EMT-I drives and the EMT-P provides care on the road
3. Not sure, I drive a Ford F-450 Wheeled Coach Rescue ( Non – Transport Ambulance ) and I had to have a Cone Course as well as 6 hours of drive time with ( 1 ) emergency run with a training officer before I could drive.
4. I would doubt the use of GPS’s are very common, we use a map book.
5. The 2 types of trucks are ALS and BLS ALS is ( EMT-P and EMT-I ) BLS is ( EMT-I and EMT-I )
6. A BLS truck is typically a transport unit for non critical patients ( Hospital to nursing home type runs ) so you may be driving or you may be in back checking vitals.
7. Depends on where you are at. In the Metro Atlanta area you are out on a post for your entire shift 12 or 24 depending on the service you work for
8. Cant answer, that really depends on your agency
9. Not sure……
10. Not much else, Georgia is a ’85 state unlike the ’99 status MD. Has ( see above post ). The ’85 scope of practice is greatly reduced over the ’99 scope so don’t be intimidated by ’99 standards in Georgia because you will not be taught them.

Take care!!! Ed

DaleGribble
04-12-2007, 17:47
I'll answer according to what goes on at the service where i work...



1. Would I expect to start going on the road immediately after getting my certification, or do a lot of departments require some other kind of duty or training for new people?

I got hired the day after I got my NREMT numbers. A week later I started and was 2nd person on a truck on my second day.

2. So, I assume that the new guy helps provide care on the scene, but usually drives to/from there while the more experienced guy stays in the back with the patient. Is that correct? At what point does that start to change?

It depends on the call. For stable pt's with no cardiac or respiratory problems it's usually the lowest certified person on the truck. Same goes for stable trauma pt's.

3. What kind of familiarization training is given on how to drive those big clunky ambulances?

You'll take an evoc course that's easy. If you can drive a full size truck you can drive an ambulance. Driving an ambulance isn't about speed, it's about safely getting your pt and partner to the hospital without killing them. You'll quickly learn that fast starts and hard stops will make you very unpopular with the guy in the back.

4. That means that the job would require familiarity with the local road system and so forth. As a new guy starting a different town, how is that generally handled? Extensive time going over maps? Fancy GPS gizmos? Using your off-time to cruise around and learn the area? The experienced guy sitting up front and pointing out turns?

My road knowledge was trial by fire. Like I said I was 2nd on a truck on my second day, the kicker was that I was living and working in a new area and didn't know anything about the roads. My partner drove me around and showed me the major roads and once I knew them it all kind of fell into place. You'll probably have a map book, with it you can probably find the roads to hell and back once you figure out the main roads.


5. There would also be two levels of service (Advanced and Basic). How are the types of calls differentiated? How often do dispatchers send the BLS crews out to calls that end up needing ALS service or vice versa?

I work for a small service that covers a huge rural area so we don't differentiate because our two stations are so far apart. Our dispatch is based on geography, not level of care needed.

6. How would my responsibilities differ on a BLS truck versus an ALS truck? Would it even be a realistic scenario for a new guy to be on an ALS truck?

BLS is exactly that, basic life support. Again, I was on an ALS truck on my 2nd day, not because I was all knowing but because a warm body was needed. I made sure I was good at the basics and I focused on that while the paramedic focused on the advanced stuff. Learn the basics and master them because you'll always use them!

7. I assume there is a lot of downtime between calls. Would it be reasonable to expect to learn a lot from more experienced EMTs during this time? Or, if taking college classes during the same time period, would it be reasonable to expect to get any studying in?

It depends on call volume and the quality of people that you work with.

I could work on a PhD with all the down time I have while other services run from call to call constatly.

As for the people...

I work with one paramedic that I wouldn't trust to intubate a baked potato without screwing it up. I work with other medics that could be doctors if they applied themselves. You'll figure out who the good ones and bad ones are. Pick the brains of the good ones, they usually like to answer questions anyway.

8. How are volunteer and part-time guys handled? Do they normally do 24-hour shifts on Saturday/Sunday? Shorter 4-12 hour shifts during peak times during the week?

We don't have volunteers but we do have part timers. They work the same shifts we do, just less of them.

9. Am I more likely to be thrown in way over my head or only allowed to try new things at a snail's pace?

That depends on you. If you're confident in your skills and show initiative you'll probably be doing lots of cool things. If you act like a wall flower and just hang back waiting on orders from your partner you'll be the guy that fetchs the equipment all the time and might get to put somebody on the pulse ox after six months.

10. What else am I missing?

Here's my question. Can you work unsupervised and are you calm under pressure? As a war veteran you know the answers to these questions. If the answer is yes, you'll do well in this field if you want to. If you fall to pieces easily, get a day job where people don't depend on you in a crisis. From what I know about you by reading your posts for a while now, I know you have the intelligence to do well in this field if you apply yourself.

I don't really have much advice for you as far as whether or not you should try this, that's your decision. If you do decide to do it learn as much as you can, the more knowledgable you are the better your patient care skills will be. Learn from the good medics that you work with, they can teach you a lot. I've learned more from experienced medics than I have in any classroom.

D25
04-12-2007, 18:56
1. Would I expect to start going on the road immediately after getting my certification, or do a lot of departments require some other kind of duty or training for new people?

You'll probably be a third person since you have no previous prehospital experience. This period might be relatively brief as a basic, and may be more extensive, even 2-3 months, as paramedic.

2. So, I assume that the new guy helps provide care on the scene, but usually drives to/from there while the more experienced guy stays in the back with the patient. Is that correct? At what point does that start to change?

If you are a basic on an ALS rig, then the only chance that you'll get to ride in the box is the dreaded back-hauls of nonambulatory patients. If you are ALS on an ALS rig, then you'll need to cary your weight and take turns with your partner. A good partner will make exceptions to this and pick up some of the wierd sketchball patients that may fall well outside of a newbs comfort zone. A good newb will recognize these wierd sketchball patients as excellent opportunities to learn, and protest getting bumped out of the box by his more experienced partner.

3. What kind of familiarization training is given on how to drive those big clunky ambulances?

If you work for a good place the familiarization will be thourough, both formally and informally. You will soon regard them as anything but clunky because you will soon check, clean, inventory, wash, wax, fix, shine, love, polish, recheck, buff, sleep in, and reclean your own little shiny ICU- and that is in the first day. By the second or third day you really ought to be familliar.

4. That means that the job would require familiarity with the local road system and so forth. As a new guy starting a different town, how is that generally handled? Extensive time going over maps? Fancy GPS gizmos? Using your off-time to cruise around and learn the area? The experienced guy sitting up front and pointing out turns?

I've used all of the above in the last week.

5. There would also be two levels of service (Advanced and Basic). How are the types of calls differentiated? How often do dispatchers send the BLS crews out to calls that end up needing ALS service or vice versa?

I don't know. All ALS around here.

6. How would my responsibilities differ on a BLS truck versus an ALS truck? Would it even be a realistic scenario for a new guy to be on an ALS truck?

I worked as a B on an ALS rig, but this was after a bit of experience as a volly.

7. I assume there is a lot of downtime between calls. Would it be reasonable to expect to learn a lot from more experienced EMTs during this time? Or, if taking college classes during the same time period, would it be reasonable to expect to get any studying in?

If you can get away from Glocktalk. Your coworkers will teach you 10x more than you could ever learn in class.

8. How are volunteer and part-time guys handled? Do they normally do 24-hour shifts on Saturday/Sunday? Shorter 4-12 hour shifts during peak times during the week?

Quite variable.

9. Am I more likely to be thrown in way over my head or only allowed to try new things at a snail's pace?

It really depends. To make sure you learn something, strive to stay in over your head- that's how you learn. But don't be afraid of saying, "Hey guys, I'm over my head here. You want to keep an eye on me and the patient so something bad dosn't happen?" If you're not uncomfortable then you either don't care or aren't trying.

lomfs24
04-12-2007, 22:05
It's interesting reading what other providers can and can't do in other states. In Montana, especially in rural areas, EMT-B's are first on scene, last on scene and only ones on scene. We really have no special powers here that anyone doesn't have anywhere else. I have some extra endorsements that allow me to use some of the basic med's that aren't prescribed to the pt.

In the volley EMS dept that I am on, our ALS support is 45 mins. out by air. So if they need help that I can't give they may be in tough shape.

MD2010
04-12-2007, 23:30
In VA EMT-Is and Paramedics work off the exact same protocols. Their drug lists are the same. The only difference is EMT-Is cannot do crics. That's about it. In some regions of the states EMT-Is also have to call for some drugs orders that paramedics do not.