EMS in Shiloh County is being tweaked a bit. Perhaps the biggest change is restructuring of the different levels of certification for EMS.
Shiloh County now recognizes a 3 level EMS certification system consisting of:
- EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) - Basic 80 hour course in advanced first aid. Scope of practice is comparable to EMT, however, without the ability to administer medications (except oxygen and oral glucose). EMR's also cannot staff an ambulance.
- EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) - The minimum level required to staff an ambulance and therefore work for SCFD EMS. Education is a 120 hour class + 36 hours of ride alongs.
- Paramedic - The highest level of pre-hospital provider. Education consists of a 5 month didactic course, 1 month of hospital clinicals, and a 3 month of field internship.
Due to budget cuts and low resource utilization, the fire suppression side of SCFD will no longer offer ALS level services. Policy will be updated to require that all new probationary firefighters will be certified to the EMR level as a part of their time at the fire academy. Current firefighters without any medical certification prior to this policy, will be grandfathered in and will not be required to become certified, however certification will be offered free of charge to them. Firefighters wishing to obtain their EMT certification will have the opportunity to do so as well. A stipend for being EMT certified will be given. Firefighters currently certified as paramedics will be allowed to keep their certification, but will be classified as EMT and be limited to the EMT scope of practice while working in fire suppression. After working with the local firefighter union, the county has come to an agreement to allow currently certified firefighter/paramedics to keep any stipends they receive so long as their paramedic certification is maintained.
After some serious talk with the brass, as a consolation to those firefighters already certified as paramedics, a new policy will be drafted which will allow paramedic certified firefighters the ability to work overtime shifts within SCFD EMS, after completing an EMS orientation and field training program.
To better reflect these changes, fire apparatus will need to be updated to reflect their new BLS level of care. Lifepak15's currently in use on those vehicles will need to be swapped with Lifepak 1000 AEDs.
Sheriff's department currently only requires basic first aid and CPR for hire, and that is not changing, however EMR training is encouraged for interested persons.
Our three main hospitals have been updated, and 2 new forums have been added to reflect the other two hospitals. Each hospital has specific criteria and capabilities so please be sure you're sending your sick and injured to the proper facility.
Additionally, we hope to put out some training material to help those of you who are inexperienced with EMS. We will also be taking a look at existing policies and updating them accordingly. We will let you know of changes.
Our Medical Director list has been adjusted slightly:
Dr. Braun is still Medical Director of all of SCFD
Dr. Grant is Associate Medical Director and will be overseeing SCFD EMS's ALS program
Dr. Abboud is joining us as an Associate Medical Director and she will be overseeing SCFD's BLS Program (to include for EMS and Fire suppression)
Both associates directors will be working to improve quality in both ALS and BLS, but each has their respective primary focus.
Finally, both EMTs and Paramedics in SCFD EMS will have access to online medical control during their call. Should a situation come up that you are not sure how to handle, or are completely lost, or if you need to make a pronouncement of death in the field, then please call Medical Control either by phone (preferred) or radio. Medical control will be able to guide and give you orders on how to proceed. There are currently two medical control numbers, one for Shiloh County Hospital and one for Crescent Falls University Medical Center. The primary number for SCFD EMS is Shiloh County Hospital, however, Crescent Falls University Medical Center can be called if you cannot get a hold of Shiloh County Hospital.
I appreciate your feedback on these changes.