Careers: EMT/Emergency Medical Technicians/paramedic question


QUESTION: ok I am  15 year old I have wanted to be a paramedic I have done a little research and I see that there are many different types I don't know much about being a paramedic but I have visited a fire house in my city I would like to know a little more if you could give me as much information as you can also is there a early paramedic school I could go for or do I have to wait can you tell me about what they do and any thing about being one would be great thank you

ANSWER: Hello Rebekah,

Becoming an EMT or paramedic isn't something people do if they want to get rich. Most places EMS people live paycheck to paycheck with the exception of management positions and municipal fire department jobs.  To work as a paramedic and get through the schooling you really have to love the job and want to help people. I would recommend you look for an ambulance explorer program in your area. If you can get into an explorer program it will give you a taste of what EMS is about. They usually offer some training, fun events, ride alongs, and general stories from the EMS providers that work along with the program. most places you have to be 18 to take an EMT course and you usually need to be an EMT (work as an EMT) for a year before most paramedic programs will consider you. Paramedic school can be hard, though not impossible... if you truly have the desire and feel that you will do anything to get that card you will make it through.  

Do any reading about emergency medicine as you can, find a used (current) paramedic book. Subscribe to JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services). Watch EMS movies, classics are: "Mother Jugs and Speed", "Emergency"- the TV series, and "Bringing out the dead" (there all older shows, but you'll get the idea of what EMS is and where we came from).

If you do become an EMT
*** EMS attracts strong and difficult personalities, you will run in to these people every day, you may be stuck on a rig for 12 hours at a time with some of them, learn not to take them (or your self) too seriously***

*** you can't save every one, even with the best care some people will stay sick, get worse, or die and that is not your fault***

*** If you do nothing more than hold a hand and tell the patient "I'm going to stay here with you" you have done a lot***

*** If you get stuck on a call and forget what to do remember: A-B-C (Airway Breathing Circulation)***

Good luck with your decision,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: ok question how would I start to go about getting a ride alone I have talk to some one in the fire house but I don't know how I live in el paso texas can you find how I would go about doing that

ANSWER: Hello again Rebekah,

for a ride-along you usually have to be at least 18. This is an insurance thing. If you were an ambulance explorer you may be able to do ride-alongs now because the explorer scouts are covered under their own insurance. You may still be able to go into a station and ask to talk to a paramedic (if they have one... some fire stations only fight fires and the ambulance service is a separate company). It might be worth contacting the PIO (public information officer) about taking a tour. The PIO is in charge of issuing statements to the press and organizing community events and tours. Looking at google I saw there is an ambulance service called "Life Ambulance" they have EMT/ Paramedic classes at their school as well, and a good rating from the better business bureau. you may want to try them if there close?

Good luck again.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: how would I became an ambulance explorer

Hello again Rebekah

Doing a quick google search I came up with a name: Jay Nicholson who is listed as a Lead Adviser for EPFD Explorers (El Paso), though there is no direct contact info for him and he appears to be a fire explorer adviser. I would call some of your local ambulance services, ask about an explorer program and if they don't have one ask about who does what is within driving distance. Through in Jay Nicholson's name as an adviser and see what you get back. Do as much searching on your own and see where it gets you. Make contacts on the way. Write down names, positions and phone numbers of people you talk to (they may be helpful to talk to in the future).

Good luck again,


Careers: EMT/Emergency Medical Technicians

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Marcus LaBarbera


I am available to answer most questions related to: first aid, pre- hospital medicine, EMT and Paramedic questions, CC-EMTP Course offered through UMBC, medical transport, critical care transport, ICU/CCU care, sedation, and medicine in general.


I have worked as a NYS Paramedic since 1993 for both community based ambulance companies and large commercial agencies. I Have experience as bike team commander, and shift supervisor for a commercial ambulance. As a member of the Disaster team I was deployed to Louisiana for 20 days following hurricane Katrina. I worked along side the county Haz-Mat team as a "Tox-Medic" with advanced training in treating injuries from chemical agents. Besides my experience on the on the ambulance I have worked in a number of hospital based offices including dialysis and a sleep lab.

I started my EMS career as a NYS CFR (Certified First Responder)in 1989, an EMT in 1991, a Paramedic since 1993, and a CCU transport paramedic since 2005. I currently hold certification as a: NYS Paramedic, Critical Care Transport Paramedic, ACLS/CPR/PALS certified. Advanced Haz-Mat Life Support certified (AHLS). In the past I have taught CPR and ACLS to my coworkers and the local community.

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