Wanna-be emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, can begin a round of training with Kachemak Emergency Services in Homer. Classes are currently underway and will help interested volunteers prepare for the state of Alaska’s EMT exam.
No previous medical training is required. But KES Assistant Chief Steve Boyle said an interest in this line of work is, of course, necessary. He said anyone who takes part will learn a variety of things to manage an emergency.
“We have the core part, which is to teach people about the human body, about how to maintain a patient’s airway. It teaches them things about how to assess a patient,” he said.
Boyle said the students also will learn about assessing and fixing different types of trauma to certain parts of the body, helping a patient who may have had a stroke or has gone into labor.
“Along with that, our course also carries some of the other key items that we need for the department. We teach people how to drive the ambulance going on an emergency… in a very safe and responsible manner,” he said.
So, with all this in mind, Boyle said interested students should have a good head on their shoulders. But, really, even that can be taught.
“We’re looking for someone who has a good level of maturity. We have a lot of people who sometimes aren’t quite sure, but they begin to take the classes to see how they do and are actually surprised at how well they actually can perform. Also helping them to learn and develop those skills to think under pressure, versus someone who’s already got that skill,” he said.
Potential students must be at least 18 years old and can’t have a criminal record. Boyle said parking tickets aren’t an issue. Now, if you have the interest and meet the other requirements, Boyle said it’s a matter of having the time to volunteer.
“This is for people who are going to get woke up in the middle of the night or right in the middle of dinner. Also we need people who are willing to and have the time to dedicate… to come in and train to maintain their skills,” he said.
Boyle said the department is always recruiting EMS trainees and will have classes for firefighter training in the spring. KES serves 214 square miles with one station by McNeil Canyon Elementary School and another on the Sterling Highway. He said having enough recruits can sometimes be a challenge.
“It’s kind of one of those where you almost can’t have enough volunteers,” he said.
Boyle said KES teaches the Emergency Trauma Technician course, which is one level below the current course offerings for EMT Level One. Training also is available for EMT Levels Two and Three. He said getting to the paramedic level requires some college courses through Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna. KES works with the college to help students get credit for training as well.
This round of EMT Level One courses is held Tuesday and Friday evenings from 6 until 10, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Boyle said the department is a little flexible about missing certain days, but they would prefer if you attended each class.