EMT – What's in a name?
So you want to be a “EMT” or “Emergency Medical Technician”? What is it and what do you need to know?
The term EMT is not a protected title, unlike 'Paramedic', which means anyone, with or without training or experience can call themselves an EMT or 'Medic'. Furthermore, any company can deliver an EMT training course with no regulation and no quality assurance.
The term Emergency Medical Technician was inherited from the tiered US emergency medical practitioner system which can loosely be compared to the UK Ambulance personnel roles. The first stage in each continuum is EMT-Basic in the US and elsewhere or Ambulance Technician in the UK. The National Highway Transport and Safety Administration (NHTSA) require a minimum of 110 hours of learning for the EMT-B course. The UK's Institute of Health Care Development (IHCD) require 8 weeks of learning to cover the theory part of the Ambulance Technician course.
So how does a commercial five-day EMT course compare? Quite simply, it can't.
Almost every one of these courses is a re-badged version of the the First Person On Scene – Intermediate (FPOS-I) course, sexed-up with extra equipment and some additional skills thrown in. Some EMT course are entirely in-house with no external accreditation or regulation.
Some training providers will include additional skills including intraosseos injection, needle decompression or chest drains. Ask if they will provide any form of indemnity insurance for your actions should you apply any of these advanced skills?
These are high level skills which are intended for experience Paramedics, Nurses and Doctors which take time to perfect and continual practice to retain. As a civilian you will never be able to apply these skills and to do so, even out of necessity, could lead to a criminal conviction. And that is if the casualty survives.
Further Reading: Duty of Care and the Law
So what is the alternative?
We don't sell EMT courses. For those who want additional skills beyond First Aid at Work we offer the IHCD First Person On Scene course, exactly as it is. It was designed with a syllabus and purpose in mind and fits a range of needs well. It was developed for Community First Responders who required additional skills above First Aid at Work, to provide life saving treatment and the ability stabilise a casualty until they can be hand-over to a Paramedic.
The FPOS-I course has subsequently been rolled out across the majority of UK Fire Brigades and is fast becoming the standard in Advanced First Aid in industry as well as the benchmark course for those who work in security and close protection.
This is not an “EMT” course but it will give you advanced skills, knowledge and understanding to manage situations, save lives, stabilise casualties and manage injuries and illness to a recognised standard.
Further reading: What's next after First Aid at Work?