Paramedic class offered by new program in Carroll

September 20, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER -- People wanting to become paramedics can now get training in Carroll County for the first time in the history of emergency medical services here, the county's Volunteer Ambulance Association said Wednesday.

The 13 medical technicians currently enrolled in the paramedic class will be trained through a joint program between Essex and Carroll community colleges.

"This program has been in the works for about two years and we are excited about being able to train our people here," said Bruce Walz, chairman of the association's paramedic committee, a news conference at Westminster High School.

"This local training will enable our current CRTs [Cardiac Rescue Technicians] to upgrade to paramedics instead of our ambulances utilizing people certified in other areas," said Mr. Walz, also the ambulance captain for the Mount Airy Emergency Medical Service.

The Carroll County government gave the program a one-time $20,000 grant to get things moving, Mr. Walz said. That enabled the first students to enroll in the paramedic class last week.

Because the class can be taken for college credit, future students who pay tuition fees toward a degree will be reimbursed by the paramedic committee a year after they complete the course, he said.

It will take the students more than a year to get through two required classes, which include patient assessment on emergency calls. They will also be required to take the National Registry, a certification test for paramedics.

"The paramedic is the most trained individual able to intervene . . .," said Charles Barnhart, an EMS training coordinator. "Their 400 hours of training enables them to do certain things not available to the technicians."

The county has 703 volunteer medical service providers working on ambulance crews and 160 volunteers in classes training for one of the four levels of ambulance technicians. The levels are: first response -- firefighters and police; Emergency Medical Technicians -- personnel who staff ambulances to provide immediate attention to the injured; CRTs -- able to deal with cardiac arrests; and paramedics -- trained to handle more complicated medical procedures.

Jesse Salley, the association's president, took the opportunity of the news conference to endorse Dr. Kimball Maull, head of the Maryland Shock Trauma Center and head of emergency services in the state.

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