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For EMTs, their career is more than just a job

Date: 12/21/2010

Dec. 22, 2010

By Lori Szepelak


SPRINGFIELD -- Jonathan Jordan's role as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for American Medical Response (AMR) Western Massachsuetts is "more than just a job."

On a recent early evening at AMR headquarters at 595 Cottage St., Jordan and Matthew McBride, manager of business, community and facility relations, compared life-changing stories during their time with the organization.

"You really get to help people," Jordan said during an interview with Reminder Publications. "Every day brings new experiences."

Jordan noted that from patients with chest pain to women delivering babies, once the call comes in, "the adrenaline flows," and you have to think on your feet.

"Every call has a unique element," he added.

Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances are emergency rooms on wheels, with the people and equipment necessary to stabilize a patient until arrival at a hospital emergency room or trauma center, according to McBride.

At least one member of the two-person crew on every ALS ambulance is a paramedic, certified and licensed by the appropriate state and local authorities.

McBride noted that ALS teams can assess a patient's medical condition, communicate the teams' findings to other medical professionals and treat life-threatening emergencies in the field.

Jordan relishes his role as an EMT and encourages others to consider this job as a vocation.

"It's not for everyone," he said, noting that calls can range from the routine to "something you've never seen before."

McBride echoed the sentiments of Jordan.

"Having the opportunity to participate in the community on a daily basis and being an active partner in the emergency medical response system is rewarding," said McBride, who has worked for AMR for 18 years.

McBride noted that AMR offers classes in basic EMT training, as well as an intermediate program and paramedic training, all under a team of health care providers who have many years of field experience as well as varied educational and professional backgrounds.

The basic EMT program is a Massachusetts accredited training course that is the starting point for all levels of EMTs. The training consists of 140 hours including classroom, outdoor extrication, dispatch center observation, and ambulance ride time.

AMR also offers an intermediate program that runs twice a year, starting in January and September. In addition to the pre-hospital skills of a basic EMT course, intermediates perform advanced airway management and IV therapy skills. Clinical and field internship is scheduled after the classroom portion is completed.

AMR's paramedic program is a Massachusetts accredited training course with lecture and lab hours along with clinical and field time hours. These hours include time spent in the emergency room, ICU/CCU, pediatrics, labor and delivery, psychiatrics, and operating room.

AMR also offers classes in CPR, first aid and the First Responder program.

"At this time our operation is fully staffed but with the growth we are experiencing we are anticipating hiring in the near future," added McBride.

At the heart of the operation is AMR's Communication Center, which manages calls for AMRand partners with several communities to handle calls for fire departments, police departments and other public safety agencies.

"On any given day, the dispatchers handle 150 to 200 calls," said McBride.

For more information on upcoming classes, call AMR's office at 846-6152, or visit

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