Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics respond to emergency situations that occur outside of the hospital or clinic setting. Automobile crashes, heart attacks, strokes, near drownings, unscheduled childbirth, poisonings and gunshot wounds are some of the situations that might be encountered in which the EMT would be responsible for administering life-saving medical attention.
EMTs determine the nature and extent of illness or injury and establish priorities for patient care. EMTs have specially equipped vehicles to transport their patients. These vehicles include equipment such as backboards to immobilize patients before placing them on the stretcher and securing them in the ambulance. To ensure proper treatment upon arrival the EMT will inform the hospital of the injuries or illness, the number of patients being transported and other pertinent information. EMTs will constantly monitor the patient's condition and provide additional care as needed.
Paramedics perform the same duties as EMTs and are also trained to provide other services. Working under a physician's medical direction the paramedic will administer medication both orally and intravenously, and use more complex equipment such as cardiac defibrillators.
The state of Indiana classifies personnel into five categories: Medical First Responder, EMT-Basic, Basic EMT-Advanced, EMT-Intermediate, and EMT-Paramedic. Basic personnel are trained to respond to basic cardiac, respiratory and trauma emergencies. EMT-Intermediate personnel have training that allows IV administration, use of defibrillators and advanced equipment to respond to cardiac and respiratory emergencies. EMT-Paramedics must provide advanced care including IV administration, medications, EKGs and endotracheal intubations. EMTs and paramedics work for private ambulance services, fire departments, rescue squads and hospitals. The scope of practice for EMTs and paramedics is constantly expanding.
Emergency personnel work in all types of weather. The work can be physically and emotionally stressful as these workers are exposed to various infectious diseases and violent situations.