Probationary EMS: What to Expect

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EMS Training

As a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), you will go through a very intense training process in preparation to competently care for the injured and ill.  All of the basic training is provided at no cost to you.  

Red Hat Program

It all starts with our “Red Hat” training.  “Red Hat” comes from the red helmet assigned to new trainees and it is the designation you hold until approved and released as an EMT-B and ambulance aide.

The Red Hat program familiarizes the trainee with our apparatus, equipment and most importantly – the safety of yourself, your crew and your patient.  This training takes place at our station using our apparatus and is led by senior members of our team.  The program covers both EMS and Fire.  This training is usually scheduled and completed within 30 days of being accepted as a member of AVFRD

Core Classes

In parallel with your Red Hat training, you will be scheduled to attend Volunteer Recruit School (VRS) training.  These classes are required before starting your EMT-B course.  The core VRS classes are:

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) – 8 Hours

Blood Borne Pathogens – 4 Hours

Upon completion of the VRS classes, you will be assigned to a duty crew and will start working while your training continues.

Emergency Medical Technician Basic (EMT-B) Course

There are several levels of EMT certification both at the state and national level.  It starts with the EMT Basic, (EMT-B).  The EMT-B is trained to provide Basic Life Support (BLS) including wound care, splinting, oxygen administration, respiratory assistance, CPR and many other interventions.

Classes generally take about 4 months to complete and occur on weeknights and some weekends.  Upon completion of the class, you will take a state or national exam.  The exam consists of both a written and “hands-on” practical component.   

Additional Training

Once you complete the EMT-B course you will begin a brief “in-station” internship, working under the supervision of a more experienced crew member.  Once released by the Rescue Chief, you begin serving in roles of increasing responsibility as outlined below:

Ambulance Aide – The new EMS Provider starts as an ambulance aide, riding in the back of the unit and assisting their officer with patient care. Time spent as an aide gives the member a solid knowledge base to launch their career in EMS.

Ambulance Driver – The next rung on the EMS ladder is to become an ambulance driver. The aide attends an Emergency Vehicle Operators Course and then practices driving on calls. Maturity and confidence are key elements to this step.

Ambulance Officer – After obtaining an EMT-B certification, the provider moves into training to ride as the officer on the ambulance. In this role you are responsible for all patient care as well as the safety and security of your crew.

Advanced EMT Training – The EMT-Basic (EMT-B) is not the end of the road.  Advanced levels of certification are available for those who are interested including the EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I) and EMT-Paramedic (EMT-P).  The EMT-I and P are trained to provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) including care in Cardiac Emergencies, Trauma and other life-threatening medical conditions. 

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