What are the different levels of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and what are their responsibilities?
Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT)
The EMT represents the first component of the emergency medical technician system. An EMT trained at this level offers Basic Life Support (BLS) and is prepared to care for patients at the scene of an incident and is responsible for safety transporting patients by ambulance to the hospital under medical direction. EMT’s have the emergency skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies. Some of the responsibilities of an EMT is to open and maintain an airway, ventilate patients, administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation as required, including the use of automated external defibrillators, provide pre-hospital emergency medical care of simple and multiple system trauma, assist in emergency childbirth, manage general medical complaints of altered mental status, respiratory, cardiac, diabetic, allergic reaction, seizures, poisoning behavioral emergencies, environmental emergencies, and psychological crises. Additional care is provided based upon assessment of the patient and obtaining historical information.
Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (Paramedic)
Paramedics provide the most extensive pre-hospital care. In addition to carrying out procedures of Basic Life Support (BLS) as described above, paramedics are responsible in performing Advanced Life Support (ALS). Some of their responsibilities are to administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubations, relief of pneumothorax and use monitors and other complex equipment. Paramedics are personally responsible, legally, ethically and morally for each drug administered, for using correct precautions and techniques, observing and documenting the effects of the drugs administered, keeping abreast of all contraindications to administration of specific drugs to patients.