EMT student

queenmaryh

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Hi, I am new to this site. I am a 52 yr. old mom, grandma, and am 1/2 way thru my EMT training. I plan on being a volunteer. I love it so much and am thinking of going on to be a Paramedic. Someone told me it is extremely difficult and physically challenging when it comes to the testing. (I am 5 feet tall and weigh 110.)
Does anyone have some feedback for me?

Thanks so much,

Mary
 

crash

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I am five feet tall and 110 as well! Granted I am 26 years old but if you are in general good health you should be ok! Since you are a volunteer I doubt your service has a physical agility test. If you go on to be a paramedic and join a paid service you will probably run into a physical test at some point. So...while you are going to paramedic school hit the gym too! Personally I have never ran into a problem because of my size specifically--I have had very large patients that required lifting assistance but ANYONE would have had to get lifting assistance! Also, many systems dispatch a fire crew first response as well as an ambulance to calls so there is lots of help. There are several women on my service your age and they seem to do just fine!
 

crash

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Oh and P.S.--focus on upper body strength and good lifting mechanics if you decide to hit the gym--those are the biggies for a petite person!
 

SafetyPro2

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Welcome aboard! I think you'll quickly find that we've got folks with all sorts of different backgrounds and histories here.

Strength training's always a good thing, as well as learning good lifting technique. Too many fire/EMS folks end up with serious back problems from lifting improperly, so practice lifting the right way.

Size really doesn't matter so much as strength. I'm 6'2 and over 200 lbs and last night I had a patient I was struggling with...we ended up with two people on each end of the gurney.

Best of luck to you, and look forward to seeing your posts in the forums.
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
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Mary,

First, welcome to our forum! I'm an EMT-Basic, so I can only comment on what I've seen in the field, and heard from my partners.

The Paramedic program is extremely mentally and physically challenging. I truly believe that any person that has a passion for EMS can pass the academic portion of the class. It's going to take dedication for a year, but it can be done!

As far as the physical part of EMS, that is also demanding. I'm a 6'2" pretty regular build guy. My partner is probably 5'0" tall. Neither of us are really built for EMS, and there are times where we've had to call for a lift-assist. Here is what I can offer you:

1. Work on upper body strength. When I first started working, on my first day, I didn't realize how heavy the stretcher (90 lbs) with Pt, O2, and LifePak12 were. In fact I was having problems lifting the stretcher's wheels off the ground so they could lock. Work on the upper body!

2. Find a system! When you first get a partner in EMS, work out a system. Being the tell guy, I was always at the pt's head. I often had shorter partners, so they would lift the patient in two stages. If we had a heavy patient going home from the hospital, we'd raise the hospital bed to the height of our stretcher, instead of lowering the stretcher, and having to raise it again. Find your own system, it will make things a lot easier!

3. Stay fit - In EMS you will continually place strain on your body through the normal course of your shift. In private EMS, I sit in an ambulance for 12 hours, and go home and sleep the day away, only to wake up and do it again. It's critical that you stay fit, eat health, and exercise. Besides reducing injuries, it will keep you on top of your game.

4. Never be too proud - You must realize your limitations. I believe that anyone in EMS should be able to lift a 250 lb. pt on a stretcher with a partner. That's about 300 lbs between two people, including the stretcher and equipment. The reality of this is much different than my expectations though. If you can't safely lift a patient, tell your partner. You can always call for a lift-assist, meaning another unit will come and help out. Don't hesitate to ask police and firefighters for help, they like to do that type of stuff.

I understand a lof of my advice was related to the field, and not an agility test, but that's all I can really offer. Besides a physical and other medical tests, I was never tested for my strength or agility. I think if private companies started testing, you would notice a sharp decline in the amount of applicants.

I hope this is somewhat helpful, and once again welcome to our forum!
 

Tigar

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First, Welcome!!!! I don't get the chance to post very often. But I try when I do. Don't sweat the small stuff....size. I am 5'5" at 170. Honestly, I'm not truely built for EMS. But my heart, brain and guts are. I inveribly get partnered w/ a much shorter partner or a greatly taller partner. There is no happy mediane. W/ each partner figuer out a system of who gets which end. Depending on the type of cot you have access (it may be level or the head is higher than the foot end) to take the cot up in stages not one big positional jump (you'll rip your back out and your partners). If you have stairs, the larger than life pt, track house (those pt's who can't/won't throw anything out; just piles up and up and up....{you get the idea}) call for lifting assistance. Don't be afraid to ask for help! You and your partner come first, you have to be healthy to help your pt.

Honest, You'll do find.
 

Luno

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Queenmaryh, yeah, a piece of advice, get a partner like me....... 5'10" 230lbs, who powerlifts as a hobby (I'm the guy who takes one side of the stretch while the other side is doubled up) B) , but in all seriousness, never be afraid to ask for help, never be afraid to make the extra manpower call. Your health and safety should never be compromised. Secondly, if something happens, and the stretcher, patient, stairchair, etc.... falls on you because you tried to superman it, who's going to help the patient? EMT safety first, then you can treat your patient.

Oh, and by the way, the feet are generally lighter than the head, and always be the one to retrieve the wheels, not the one who's loading. :p
 

rescuecpt

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Yeah, take this stuff seriously - I have a broken back thanks to a stair chair accident back when I was a probie. Now I don't lift anything heavier than the Lifepak 12.
 

PArescueEMT

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Queenmaryh, I would lke to start off with a grand welcome, but also want to tell you that I am 6'2", 268lbs, and 24y/o with a knee that, according to my orthopoedic, will need to be replaced by the time I turn 21. I guess he means when i finally mature to that age. :lol: But I have had that problem since I was 12 and have been getting sent to the heavy weights everywhere I work for the last 5 years. I have missed a very minimal amount of time do to good lifting techniques. You don't have to be like Luke and be a power lifter for the big kids, just be smart when you are apporached with that situation. Good luck in your adventures and keep us all posted on how you make out.

P.S. I am not putting you down erika. I hope you do get back on the lifting end of things soon tho.
 

rescuecpt

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Originally posted by PArescueEMT@Oct 14 2004, 01:18 AM
P.S. I am not putting you down erika. I hope you do get back on the lifting end of things soon tho.
Don't worry, I don't take it as a put down, considering I was lifting properly when my accident happened (that's why it's an accident not a mistake)... the other person carrying tripped and fell and that's how I got hurt. I don't lift, and I won't be anytime soon. The damage in my back is irreparable for now (but they're coming out with artificial discs... I'll take four of those and a new vertebra and I'll be good to go!).

I carry equipment, and I only ride on crews with at least two other people. I can lift in an emergency but I don't unless I absolutely have to. Some of you may not consider me fit for EMS, but I look at it as both my FD and my Corps are hurting for ALS, and guess what, I'm ALS. So even though I make "the boys" (as I call my crew) do the heavy lifting, I can still lug my monitor, O2, and drug bag, start a line, insert a tube, pump and blow, and everything else just as well as anyone. :D
 

MMiz

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I think many people would be surprised that many lifting injuries are because of a mistake, error, or accident by the partner. Of the few I am aware of, many happened when a partner incorrectly lifted a patient, leading the other person to overcompensate in an effort to "save" the patient.

Never underestimate the power of the other people on scene with you. Most firefighters are willing to help out.

I've had to call for a lift-assist twice in the past six months or so.

Once for a 300 lb+ pt who had to go up a flight of stairs to her residence. It was 2 AM, my partner was strong, but we clearly couldn't lift her up a "tricky" staircase. The first words out of her mouth were "Oh darling, you wont be able to lift me." And she was right, we barely were able to get her on the stretcher. About a mile away from the hospital she started having symptoms of a AMI. We brought her back to the hospital. Another crew took her home two hours later.

The second time detailed here.

Lifting is probably one of the most overlooked parts of the job.

I want one of those ambulances with the winch-like system and ramp. Maybe even one of those new stair chairs that helps automate the process. Nevermind those, I just need two assistants. If the boss doesn't approve of the request, you may be seeing a lot more of me on the forum :)
 

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