The United States is struggling with the coronavirus, leaving many to wonder what to believe. The COVID-19 cases are rising in 29 states, declining only in 2. The outbreaks in Texas, Arizona, and Florida account for roughly half of the daily reported cases. While people are staying at home, emergency medical technicians, who ensure vital medical care and transportation, are running towards danger. They are on the front lines of the pandemic, risking their own lives to save others. No provider of emergency medical services ever imagined that things would turn out this way when they started the job. Nevertheless, they have been forced to adapt to the current situation.
EMTs are working in conditions that can be easily described as chaotic, in unforeseeable circumstances, responding to all kinds of solicitations, such as highway pileups and bar fights. They get numerous calls a day, so first respondents work really hard during these difficult days. Just as other public safety professionals, EMTs are at risk of contracting COVID-19 and losing the healing power of touch. They come in contact with infected patients all the time, not to mention that providers of emergency medical services facilitate the transmission of the deadly virus to uninfected patients. The novel coronavirus may not be Ebola or the plague, but it’s still extremely dangerous.
How can EMTs protect themselves and others?
Working from home isn’t an option when you provide emergency medical services. It’s mandatory to provide assistance at the scene of an emergency, even at the expense of contracting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. The vast majority of first respondents have ended up in quarantine or isolation and any safety measures are welcome. The question now is: What can EMTs do to protect themselves? Here are some important tips on dealing with the novel coronavirus:
- Wear the right personal protective equipment – It’s paramount to use personal protective equipment in health care settings. The PPE for dealing with COVID-19 includes goggles, gloves, face shields, and glasses. More than one donning method is acceptable. It’s necessary to make sure that personal protective equipment is the correct size. When taking off the PPE gear, it’s crucial to avoid contamination.
- Don’t physically greet your family or your pets – Physical greeting habits are hard to break, but those providing emergency medical services should make an effort for the sake of their loved ones. When arriving home, EMTs should head straight to the bathroom. There should be a separate bin for dirty work clothes.
- Use EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectants – To clean surfaces of gurneys, ambulances, clipboards, and so on, it’s recommended to use products that meet EPA’s criteria for the use against the novel coronavirus. The label offers instructions for safe and effective use. Many of the products are sold online and manufacturers are working hard to restock.
The routes of transmission haven’t yet been determined, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise a cautious approach when it comes down to interacting with patients who are currently under investigation.
Training to become an EMT during the raging pandemic
Emergency medical technicians are dealing with a great deal of stress right now, working extended shifts and overtime to help cope with the shortage of personnel. It comes as a surprise to hear that anyone would want to become a first respondent during these times. Many want to become emergency medical technicians out of the desire to help and support others, which includes family and members of the local community. They are looking for learning opportunities, which come in the form of EMT classes near me. The courses are offered by accredited institutions and can take anywhere between 150 and 160 hours.
Unfortunately, training programs have been turned upside down by the global pandemic. To be more precise, some instructional programs have been canceled. The classes that haven’t been put to a halt have been postponed until further notice. The good news is that some prehospital emergency medical training companies have found ingenious solutions to continue learning in the era of COVID-19. Many are adapting their teachings to virtual classrooms and embracing distance learning to form the new generation of EMT professionals. Now, more than ever, it’s important to have the first respondents at hand.
The aim of EMT classes is to ensure the health and safety of students and instructors whilst providing top-notch training. So, the lectures are delivered in online classrooms, and students are assigned laboratory groups with a maximum of 6 students that meet on a regular basis with the instructor. Programs and applications that specialize in simulations are now being deployed for practical teaching. Practically, simulation helps replicate clinical scenarios, therefore, enabling students to develop professional skills. COVID-19 has changed our lives for good and highlighted the fact that providers of emergency medical services have a strong impact on the local community.
An ever-increasing number of people is seeking emergency care during the global pandemic, which translates into the fact that first responders are over-solicited. They are focusing on others at the expense of their own health, which is something we should all be grateful for. Emergency medical technicians are first on the scene regardless of how challenging, dangerous, or draining the situation may be. The novel coronavirus has created an unfortunate situation that requires everyone to push boundaries. EMTs have gone above and beyond to address the issues presented by this global pandemic, taking up new roles as needs change. They have demonstrated incredible strength during this health crisis.
Organizations have succeeded in moving forward with EMT education by adopting non-traditional educational methods. Those dreaming of becoming the first respondents and making a difference in the world still have a chance to learn the basic necessities. First respondents will continue to play a vital role in disasters and crisis situations. Given the never-ending requests for assistance, EMTs are necessary to provide for the health and welfare of their communities. Ensuring adequate training becomes the number one priority.