EMT training

Dear Editor:In response to Hugo Martinez's "Keep Downey Fire" letter (11/1/12), I do agree with Mr. Martinez, as well as many others, that the city of Downey should keep the Downey Fire Department. I am proud to live in a city that takes pride in operating its own fire department that not only responds to emergency calls, but are also involved in the community, such as providing CERT training to Downey residents to prepare them in assisting their neighbors in a disaster. There are a few things that I took offense to in Mr. Martinez's letter. He stated that L.A. County Fire does not have its own paramedic units, that private ambulances are driven by 18-year-olds and private ambulance technicians are inexperienced. L.A. County Fire may not have their own paramedic units, but they do operate paramedic squads that respond to emergency calls alongside private ambulances. The private ambulances are staffed by emergency medical technicians - or EMTs (not called ambulance technicians) who are properly trained and range in all ages. I take offense because I work as an EMT. To become an EMT, one must take a course that consists of 120-plus hours of training, in addition to taking the National Registry EMT exam and must continually take continuing education courses every two years to renew their certification. ON top of all that training, studying and taking continuing education courses, they still take additional tests as part of the hiring process to work for an ambulance company and train under fielding training officers once hired. Not only do EMTs respond to calls alongside paramedic squads, but they assist in the treatment and transport of the patient to the hospital. Mr. Martinez should be careful with what he states because in an emergency situation when he or a loved one calls 911 in an area covered by L.A. County Fire, he will not be concerned about how old the EMTs are or how much experience they have; he will only be concerned about a hopeful, positive outcome to the medical emergency. Guillermo Vazquez Downey

********** Published: November 8, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 30