What do I get when I call 911 for EMS response?
The State of Michigan requires that an entity that is licensed for advanced life support (ALS) service respond with a minimum of one paramedic, and a minimum supply of equipment to perform the tasks of this level of response. If the service provides transportation to the hospital, it is also required to have a minimum of a paramedic, and a basic emergency medical technician, as well as the equipment needed to provide this service. Oakland County requires that all ALS agencies respond with two (2) paramedics, whether they transport or not.
What training do these paramedics have?
All paramedics within the Independence Fire Department are licensed by the State of Michigan Department of Community Health and Trauma Systems Section. These paramedics are required to acquire this training as outlined by the National Department of Transportation, and are skilled in many areas of general illness, to cardiac care, to traumatic injuries. Many are also specially trained for the critically ill patient requiring specialized treatment. All paramedics within this department are also required to have training in advanced cardiac life support, and pediatric advanced life support.
What is the difference between advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT) and paramedic?
None. They are synonymous terms.
Why do so many people show up when I call for an ambulance?
Our EMS system within Oakland County is what is refered to as a “tiered system.” What this means is, you will get first responders who are trained in basic medical needs, and more advanced medical personnel will arrive shortly after to provide the definitive care necessary. In Independence Township, the fire department also responds with Medical First Responders (MFR’s), but most often, the paramedics will arrive prior to the MFR, and the MFR will assist the paramedics. We also respond a shift officer who may also be a paramedic, but is at least a basic EMT who can provide more advanced assistance than the MFR. We often get the Sheriff Department on our scenes for various reasons, but often do not remain on the scene if there are no police actions required.
Can these paramedics and EMTs provide any other level of care?
Yes. All are capable of providing general medical care to management of the patient in various respiratory distress with chronic obstructive lung disease, emphysema, asthma, heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, irregular or slow heart rates, cardiac arrest, burns, cold and heat related incidents – the list is very long, and the required training and continuing education is on-going. Several of our paramedics have also taken the University of Maryland – Baltimore City, Critical Care Emergency Medical Transport Program. These paramedics gain an understanding of the special needs of critical patients during transport, become familiar with the purpose and mechanisms of hospital procedures and equipment, and develop the skills to maintain the stability of hospital equipment and procedures during transport.