What do we know about EMTs and paramedics? Some people don’t know the difference. When an ambulance arrives at a person’s side, or their home, two, three or four people approach them, and they may have the same type of uniform. Of course, children may not have the concept of the difference between caregivers, but adults should know better. However, this has not been the case as time after time paramedics arrived on the scene and referred to as EMTs. In fact, this is what I hear when I walk through the front door: “The EMTs are here!”
Another major factor that plays an important part in recognizing the difference between EMTs and paramedics comes from the media. It is a known fact that the media does not have accurate information and are either wrong or incomplete in their justification of a statement, or a person.
There are major differences in the term EMTs and paramedics. EMTs are basic life support providers. EMTs or not allowed to provide advanced level care (You know the type of care that you get from nurses and doctors in a hospital). However, EMT’s have different titles. EMT I (EMT-intermediate), EMT II (EMT-advanced) and EMT-D (EMT-Defibrillation).
EMT-I can provide a certain amount of advanced life support such as starting IVs and giving medication that does not have an untoward effect or could cause a reaction that requires the skill level of paramedics to correct. EMT-II is similar to the intermediate and advanced and can do the same thing. It depends on what state you are from and what title you got when you completed your training. EMT-D are EMTs that can shock you but are not allowed to start IVs. In either one of these cases, EMTs may not have the skills to recognize heart rhythms displayed on a heart monitor. Nor do they have the qualifications to give medications required to treat lethal heart rhythms.
Paramedics are what we consider the top of the food chain outside of the hospital. Typically, you will not get a doctor or nurse unless you are being taken care of by a crew from a medical helicopter. Medical helicopters are extremely expensive, and ground transportation by EMTs are paramedics is a welcomed asset for insurance companies. However, depending on the level of life threat that you are in and its distance to a level I or II, trauma center, or basic emergency room, you will need to be taken by medical helicopter. Nonetheless, paramedics are the required skill level in major cities to respond to all types of emergencies.
Paramedics can recognize what is going on with you by the symptoms that you display and by the history that you give them. They can take this information and come up with a preliminary diagnosis that gives them a solution to treat your ailment until a doctor sees you. Any events of traumatic situations, including gunshot wounds, stabbings, car collisions, smoke inhalation and any other event that dramatically approaches you and causes the possibility of your life activity to end, paramedics will engage the situation with the highest level of care. Although, this care is nothing like the type of care you can get from EMTs.
EMTs are vital to the survival of citizens around the world. Although they are not paramedics, they still can recognize certain situations that will take your life. These EMTs can make choices to transport you to an emergency department rapidly, or sustain your vital functions until advanced life supports (paramedics) arrive.
Today, cities and counties provide dual paramedics and a paramedic with an EMT partner on the ambulance. Moreover, major cities and metropolitan areas including countries will attach a fire engine to your emergency call. These fire engines are vital because they assist the ambulance crew and taking care of you and make the right choice to get you to the right hospital. The crews on the fire engine include EMTs and paramedics. Thus, the level of care at your side is doubled, tripled, or quadrupled with advanced caregivers just like you would have in a hospital.
Why is it important to differentiate EMTs and paramedics? Well, some people don’t see this as a problem. However, there are some who do. Paramedic school is intense and sometimes extremely long. The requirements to make it through far exceed the requirements to make it through EMT school. The title paramedic justifies a completion of a highly skilled training institution that released people into the community to provide the highest level of care that a person can get when they dial 911.
When we refer to the term life support, it is important to understand that EMTs are basic and paramedics are advanced.