EMT's vs Paramedics
When a person calls 911 with a medical problem, EMTs are sent to help. Depending on the severity of the emergency, a paramedic unit may also be dispatched.
Often EMTs and Paramedics are considered interchangeable. However, there are a number of differences.
EMTs (Basic Life Support)
- Receive about 240 hours of primary training with continuing education courses year round
- Provide a level of care known as basic life support – patient assessment, CPR, bandaging, splinting broken bones, administration of oxygen, defibrillation and some administration of drug interventions.
- As part of the local rescue squad, EMTs ride in an ambulance and are responsible for transporting a patient to the hospital
Paramedics (Advanced Life Support)
- Receive about 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training, and are often awarded a two-year degree
- Trained and certified to provide advance life support – administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubations, and use monitors and other complex equipment
- Are affiliated with a hospital and staff a mobile intensive care unit (MICU) that follows the ambulance to the hospital, while one paramedic joins the patient in the ambulance