The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Locals prepare for licensure as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT)

 

November 28, 2018

Instructor Jess Gallus, RN, second from right, helps EMT students (l-r) Mike Miller, Taryn Schmitt and Tristan Mills place a LUCAS device on a mannikin during a practice session dealing with cardiac arrest. Miller and Schmitt are two of four students from Chinook in the 180-hour EMT class being taught by members of the Blaine I ambulance crew. After successfully completing the class students will take the licensure exam to become Emergency Medical Technicians and become members of the ambulance crew.

Blaine I, the ambulance crew that serves the Chinook area, started a planned 180-hour class to license new Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). The class began the first week of November and meets two nights per week, with one weekend meeting each month. Facilitators teaching the class say the program will be completed in mid-February. The course is a combination of lectures, audio-visual presentations, text book readings and lots of skills practice.

Blaine I leaders said earlier that with an estimated four current crew members planning to leave the ambulance crew in the next year, it was important to get some new members trained and licensed early enough to gain experience before stepping into regular roles with the crew. Recruiting students for the class began in late summer.

Four of the ten students who started the course are from Chinook with the rest of the class made up of students from Hill County. Students from Chinook include Mike Miller, Colleen Mulonet, Will Robb and Taryn Schmitt. Most of the instructors also live in and around Chinook and many serve on the Blaine I ambulance crew and/or the Chinook Volunteer Fire Department.

Two Hill County students from the class have already dropped the class. One volunteer fireman went to serve with a crew headed to the California wildfires. The time commitment seems to be the big challenge for all the class members. Mike Miller, from Chinook, said, "It works well with the class meeting during the winter. I do tree trimming and winter is my slower time." Will Robb, is a Chinook Volunteer Fireman and city patrolman. He said, "This is my third start to take the class. It seems like something always comes along and I have to quit the class."

I was curious why locals were making that kind of a commitment to what is basically a volunteer position. Taryn Schmitt said she felt a need to give back to and be involved in her community. She added, "And we were told about the need to fill vacancies on the ambulance crew that will be happening in the coming year."

EMT class participants Taryn Schmitt, Mike Miller and an unidentified student (back to camera) prepare to attach a mechanical chest compression system, the LUCAS device, to volunteer victim Carrie Mundlin. Instructor Jess Gallus, RN, standing, supervises the process. The LUCAS device helps caregivers administer consistent, lifesaving compressions to cardiac arrest patients.

At the Saturday class I visited, there were about 20 additional people in the classroom at the Chinook Fire Hall. Lynn Friede, a new EMT class facilitator this year, said the additional people, many with the Chinook Volunteer Fire Department and the Blaine I ambulance crew, were, "here to meet continuing education requirements to keep up their CPR certifications.

The focus of the class was how to use the LUCAS Chest Compression System, also known as the LUCAS device. The LUCAS device was first available commercially in 2000. The creation of the idea came from a Norwegian who was concerned when he saw a cardiac arrest patient being transported by ambulance and observed how difficult it was for medical personnel to administer efficient and consistent chest compressions. A team of Swedish doctors and entrepreneurs took the concept and developed the first LUCAS device. The machine is now in its third or fourth generation of refinement and has many scientific studies to back up its ability to save cardiac arrested patients.

The "Journal" thanks these volunteers who are preparing to serve their community. Also to those crew members who will be retiring in the near future, thank you for your years of service.

 
 

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