EMT: What Are They and What Do They Do?….most people know what EMTs are, but there are some that are not aware that an EMT is an Emergency MedicalTechnician, and they have no real understanding of what is required of them, or what EMTs do. They are, in a sense, the first response teams that aid victims during a crisis.
More often than not, they are required to assist a patient directly at the scene of the crisis, as well as in an ambulance or other moving vehicle, on the way to the hospital. These emergency workers are most usually on-call during the course of their shifts, which can differ from several 24 hour shifts followed by a couple of days off, to a daily shift often lasting from 12 to 15 hours.
Due to the stress level and often difficult working conditions, it is imperative that these workers maintain a professional, calm and decisive manner at all times. Quick decision making is a must, and leaves no room for error. In many cases, an EMT is required to treat the victim immediately, these calls for the ability to accurately assess the severity of the problem at hand, and determine which treatment is most suitable.
Once the EMT has escorted the victim(s) to a medical facility, they are required to report their observations, their plan of treatment up to the moment of arrival, and they sometimes give additional assistance if needed.
There are four levels that are registered with the NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians) and these four levels are dependent upon the persons knowledge, skills, and successfully completing the proper certifications and courses for each respective level. The basic capabilities that all EMT’s are required to know and have the ability to perform are a few as listed: treat wounds, CPR, administer oxygen, deliver babies, control bleeding, apply bone splints and anti-shock suits, have the ability and knowledge to properly subdue people displaying violent behavior, as well as be able to treat allergic reactions.
The rest of the skills are dependent on which level the person is certified to practice. The four levels, as previously mentioned, that are registered with the NREMT are the First Responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and EMT-Paramedic. The first level EMTs is the level that covers emergency workers, fire fighters, and police, as well as some volunteers. This level includes the most basic of first aid skills, and does require courses for certification, but these are mainly short courses that are for basic first aid only.
EMT-1 or the EMT-Basic class of EMT’s are capable of managing a victims breathing, heart and handle trauma emergencies as well as on-the-spot diagnose the victims condition and make decisions regarding the proper responses for treatment either at the site of the crisis and/or en route to proper medical facilities. The EMT-2 and EMT-3 (EMT-Intermediate) has the necessary skills to perform the skills required by level EMT-1 and along with those skills, they are required to have the ability to administer intravenous fluids as needed, and shock stopped hearts using defibrillators.
Their skills also include the ability to apply their knowledge of advanced airway techniques to assist victims with breathing problems or airway blockages. The highest level, EMT-4, the EMT-Paramedic are those skilled and certified to perform the most extensive care prior to the victim arriving at or being admitted to the medical facility. This level of EMT has the ability, skill, and knowledge to perform all of the previously listed skills as well as minor tracheal surgery, which is inserting a tube into the windpipe of a victim to assist them in breathing if it is necessary.
EMT-4’s are certified to administer drugs, and use a myriad of additional complex medical equipment as well as read electrocardiograms (EKG‘s). All levels of these EMTs are qualified to work as/with police officers, fire fighters, in hospitals or other health care facilities.