Westport EMS sees influx in calls, decrease in volunteers

DrParasite

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I have 0 issues with 16-year-old EMTs... I was in EMT school at 16, credentialed at 17, and running calls independently at 18. Now, 16 year old paramedics? I'm a little hesitant, especially if they haven't completed college-level A&P 1 and 2... and paramedic school is different from EMT school.

That being said, 16-year-olds should be in school. If they want to play on the ambulance, or the fire truck, awesome, but not during school hours. Nights and weekends sure. Think of it this way: you can hang out at the mall (yes, they do still exist), experiment with drugs and/or alcohol, do stupid stuff that will get them hurt or arrested... or learn how to become fire or EMS personnel. But junior members can supplement adults, not replace them; if you don't have enough volunteers, the government needs to allocate more funding for EMS resources.
 
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Kavsuvb

Kavsuvb

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I have 0 issues with 16-year-old EMTs... I was in EMT school at 16, credentialed at 17, and running calls independently at 18. Now, 16 year old paramedics? I'm a little hesitant, especially if they haven't completed college-level A&P 1 and 2... and paramedic school is different from EMT school.

That being said, 16-year-olds should be in school. If they want to play on the ambulance, or the fire truck, awesome, but not during school hours. Nights and weekends sure. Think of it this way: you can hang out at the mall (yes, they do still exist), experiment with drugs and/or alcohol, do stupid stuff that will get them hurt or arrested... or learn how to become fire or EMS personnel. But junior members can supplement adults, not replace them; if you don't have enough volunteers, the government needs to allocate more funding for EMS resources.
I know Darien EMS Post 53 allows High school EMTs to run calls while they are in school and they have the backing of the Town, High school, and School board. It's why I am all for High school students in their Junior and Senior standing to get their EMTs and even be allowed to run on calls during school. It would be a gateway for them when they want to pursue a Paramedic degree in nursing, PA, NP, MD, Dental medicine, or DO. Once they graduate from Darien High School.



They even have a documentary film about them.
 

Tigger

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One place doing something does not magically make it a good idea.

Explorer Posts exist as well, to give (let’s call them what they are) children exposure to emergency services. Communities relying on said children to provide EMS service is foolish.
 

Surferdude92

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While it may not be a great idea for teenagers to solely staff a town's ambulance service, it's a great idea for those who are driven and capable enough to become certified EMTs to supplement the adult staff. There should be no issue with teenaged EMTs acting as third-riders.
 
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Kavsuvb

Kavsuvb

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One place doing something does not magically make it a good idea.

Explorer Posts exist as well, to give (let’s call them what they are) children exposure to emergency services. Communities relying on said children to provide EMS service is foolish.
They do that in Darien Connecticut and have done it for 53 years and started it in 1970. Even the rich town of Darien Connecticut backs them and the town allows them. The Darien School board is fully on board and even allows the high school kids to respond to calls while in School. That's why the Vol EMS squad was even featured in a Film and Disney even made a tv show based on them.

I'm from Connecticut and I run across them from time to time. These teenage high school EMT's do a lot better than most EMT's in the state. It's why many Vol EMS squads look to Post 53 when they want to do a High school EMS program. It's why Darien EMS Post 53 is the model that Vol EMS squads around the country that want to start a High school EMS program.

While it may not be a great idea for teenagers to solely staff a town's ambulance service, it's a great idea for those who are driven and capable enough to become certified EMTs to supplement the adult staff. There should be no issue with teenaged EMTs acting as third-riders.
The way post 53 runs during the school year the adults take the first call but if the 2nd call comes in, the high school EMT's leave class to run the call and come back to class when they are done.
 

Surferdude92

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The way post 53 runs during the school year the adults take the first call but if the 2nd call comes in, the high school EMT's leave class to run the call and come back to class when they are done.
Personally, I don't think they should be staffing ambulances alone. I started as a sixteen year old EMT, and while I feel confident in my capabilities, I'm not confident that every teenaged EMT could handle "it" on the scene of a medical emergency. I don't know if I could handle that either. That's why I endorse the third-rider model.

I've also heard "horror stories" of Post 53 being incapable of handling major emergencies and generally messing up on day-to-day calls.
 

Surferdude92

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Oh, I’m aware of Darien. It’s interesting. In the sense that yes, some teenagers have done amazing things on the battlefield, at sea, etc.

It’s also a massive slap in the face of professional paramedics.

“Oh, your job is a high-schoolers playtime internship for medical school applications”.

You don’t see them handing Glocks to these kids and telling them to run patrol.
If you're so insecure about your job that you find it offensive that teenagers are capable of doing it, you should find a new career. There are certainly arguments to be made for why fourteen y/os shouldn't be EMRs, and sixteen y/os shouldn't be EMTs, but this isn't one of them.
 
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Kavsuvb

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If you're so insecure about your job that you find it offensive that teenagers are capable of doing it, you should find a new career. There are certainly arguments to be made for why fourteen y/os shouldn't be EMRs, and sixteen y/os shouldn't be EMTs, but this isn't one of them.
It depends on what state you live in. I live in Connecticut where I live, I know at 16 years old, you can sit in an EMT class and even take the State EMT exam. Connecticut allows it and it varies from state to state and what your EMS office allows. Even in Connecticut, I have heard EMRs as young as 14 because a lot of Volunteer Fire dept's in Connecticut have Explorer or Cadet programs in the Volunteer fire dept. They allow them to go on calls and it's always based on the dept rules and the Chief's discretion.

Here's a kicker for you. The US Air Force Civil Air Patrol is already training teens to study up for their FAA Private pilot license. The youngest the FAA allows to sit on the exam is 15 years old. The Military is so short of Pilots, that the US Air Force Civil Air Patrol trains teens and young as 15 to get their pilot licenses and ultimately admission to Federal Academies such as West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and New London.

 

Surferdude92

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It depends on what state you live in. I live in Connecticut where I live, I know at 16 years old, you can sit in an EMT class and even take the State EMT exam. Connecticut allows it and it varies from state to state and what your EMS office allows. Even in Connecticut, I have heard EMRs as young as 14 because a lot of Volunteer Fire dept's in Connecticut have Explorer or Cadet programs in the Volunteer fire dept. They allow them to go on calls and it's always based on the dept rules and the Chief's discretion.
Yep. I know. I took an EMT class at fifteeen and took the practical on my sixteenth birthday.
 

DrParasite

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I've also heard "horror stories" of Post 53 being incapable of handling major emergencies and generally messing up on day-to-day calls.
Let's be honest... I've heard horror stories of crews from every EMS agency being incapable of handling major emergencies and generally messing up on day-to-day calls. Paid, Volunteer, teenagers, and adults. Even the "best" EMS agency has crews that have screwed up, and most providers have made mistakes on calls sometimes in their career.
It depends on what state you live in. I live in Connecticut where I live, I know at 16 years old, you can sit in an EMT class and even take the State EMT exam. Connecticut allows it and it varies from state to state and what your EMS office allows. Even in Connecticut, I have heard EMRs as young as 14 because a lot of Volunteer Fire dept's in Connecticut have Explorer or Cadet programs in the Volunteer fire dept. They allow them to go on calls and it's always based on the dept rules and the Chief's discretion.
Maryland allows 16 year old kids to become certified interior firefighters... They go through the Fire Academy, participate in all the live burns, and do stuff that the DOL would likely find as running afoul of child labor laws... At least they did when I called the state fire academy 15 or so years ago. Doesn't make it right, and doesn't mean they should be running calls without any adult supervision.

I stand by my original statement: High school kids should be in school. period. there FD or the Ambulance will be there once they graduate, as well as on the weekends or over nights. And yes, I 100% support the teenagers riding on apparatus, under the supervision of adults.
Here's a kicker for you. The US Air Force Civil Air Patrol is already training teens to study up for their FAA Private pilot license. The youngest the FAA allows to sit on the exam is 15 years old. The Military is so short of Pilots, that the US Air Force Civil Air Patrol trains teens and young as 15 to get their pilot licenses and ultimately admission to Federal Academies such as West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and New London.
And are they accepted in the academies at 15, or do they need to wait until they graduate high school and turn 18?
 

DrParasite

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The way post 53 runs during the school year the adults take the first call but if the 2nd call comes in, the high school EMT's leave class to run the call and come back to class when they are done.
How frequently does that actually happen? Post 53 handles 1500 calls a year, meaning in 24 hours, they average a little more than 4 calls a day, assuming no 2nd calls. Looking at their website, they have a lot of adult involvement/supervision (their website clearly states that an adult supervisor is dispatched to every call in addition to the ambulance crew), so I might be willing to revise my original objection, especially if it's a rare event. While I still think students belong in school, assuming the kids leaving school for calls is rare, and divided up between several kids (makes me wonder why they don't have a substation located at the high school during the day time), I can get on board with this idea.

It's the rarity not the norm, so, provided their academics don't suffer, I might be ok with this.
 

Surferdude92

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How frequently does that actually happen? Post 53 handles 1500 calls a year, meaning in 24 hours, they average a little more than 4 calls a day, assuming no 2nd calls. Looking at their website, they have a lot of adult involvement/supervision (their website clearly states that an adult supervisor is dispatched to every call in addition to the ambulance crew), so I might be willing to revise my original objection, especially if it's a rare event. While I still think students belong in school, assuming the kids leaving school for calls is rare, and divided up between several kids (makes me wonder why they don't have a substation located at the high school during the day time), I can get on board with this idea.

It's the rarity not the norm, so, provided their academics don't suffer, I might be ok with this.
In school, they’re the second ambulance to respond. Adults staff an ambulance from the station which is the first to go. They only leave school if there’s more than one call in town at a time.

Also, they have a supervisor go to every call with them, but that supervisor doesn’t ride in the call with them. They put like three or four kids on the ambulance at a time. Personally, as another teenaged EMT, I wouldn’t want to be involved with 53.
 

jgmedic

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The problem isn’t training the teenagers to do the job or even allowing them to ride along or run calls. It’s using them or really any volunteers to provide a service that should be considered as essential as PD or FD. Why pay when someone’s willing to do it for free? As long as that’s an option it’s only holding the rest of us down. I’m not talking about super rural areas with no other option, but you’re telling me an affluent city can’t afford it? No they can, but they don’t want to pay.
 

DesertMedic66

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The problem isn’t training the teenagers to do the job or even allowing them to ride along or run calls. It’s using them or really any volunteers to provide a service that should be considered as essential as PD or FD. Why pay when someone’s willing to do it for free? As long as that’s an option it’s only holding the rest of us down. I’m not talking about super rural areas with no other option, but you’re telling me an affluent city can’t afford it? No they can, but they don’t want to pay.
And on top of that, using child labor to accomplish the task. Kids can have jobs but they should not be dangerous jobs nor should they be getting pulled out of school to do them let alone a volunteer position. I will admit if I was a visitor and I called 911 and got an “EMT” who isn’t legally even an adult yet and who was just pulled out of his home economics class, I would probably be a little pissed.

If they are doing ride out shifts where they are assisting someone, like 99% of the explorer programs out there, then that is much different.
 

RocketMedic

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There is a vast difference between a child prodigy with a hobby and a professional.
 
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Kavsuvb

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And are they accepted in the academies at 15, or do they need to wait until they graduate high school and turn 18?
All the Federal academies have the federal age rule. A high school graduate, At least age 17, but not 23 or older, on July 1 of the year you enter West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, Kings Point, and New London, Ct

I stand by my original statement: High school kids should be in school. period. there FD or the Ambulance will be there once they graduate, as well as on the weekends or over nights. And yes, I 100% support the teenagers riding on apparatus, under the supervision of adults.
They are still allowed to go on calls. I have seen Volunteer fire depts allow cadets to go on calls but are not allowed to go inside a burning building. They are allowed exterior firefighting operations and overhaul operations at the discretion of the Fire officer. Some even allow them on brush fire operations.

Here's an example. https://www.farmington-ct.org/departments/fire-department/cadet-program

How frequently does that actually happen? Post 53 handles 1500 calls a year, meaning in 24 hours, they average a little more than 4 calls a day, assuming no 2nd calls. Looking at their website, they have a lot of adult involvement/supervision (their website clearly states that an adult supervisor is dispatched to every call in addition to the ambulance crew), so I might be willing to revise my original objection, especially if it's a rare event. While I still think students belong in school, assuming the kids leaving school for calls is rare, and divided up between several kids (makes me wonder why they don't have a substation located at the high school during the day time), I can get on board with this idea.

It's the rarity not the norm, so, provided their academics don't suffer, I might be ok with this.
Darien High School allows the Teen EMT's to respond to a call from the High school and they keep a truck at the high school.

Here's an article on them.
https://neirad.org/10477/student-life/qa-all-about-post-53/

Westport Vol EMS has Teens starting out as EMR as young as 14 until they take the EMT class at 16.

And these are their rules for teens

EMR | Anyone looking to obtain an Emergency Medical Responder certificate in the State of Connecticut. You must turn 14 years of age by the completion of the class.

EMT | Anyone looking to obtain an Emergency Medical Technician certificate in the State of Connecticut. You must turn 16 years of age by the completion of the class.
 

DrParasite

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All the Federal academies have the federal age rule. A high school graduate, At least age 17, but not 23 or older, on July 1 of the year you enter West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, Kings Point, and New London, Ct
right, they require people to wait until they graduate before they are accepted into the academy. you can train beforehand, but they don't accept kids into the military academies. There is a reason for this.
They are still allowed to go on calls. I have seen Volunteer fire depts allow cadets to go on calls but are not allowed to go inside a burning building. They are allowed exterior firefighting operations and overhaul operations at the discretion of the Fire officer. Some even allow them on brush fire operations.

Here's an example. https://www.farmington-ct.org/departments/fire-department/cadet-program
sure... many departments allow this. My current department allows this. my first dept in NJ allowed this. however, they don't allow them to replace an adult firefighter, because they aren't considered fully qualified firefighters.
Darien High School allows the Teen EMT's to respond to a call from the High school and they keep a truck at the high school.
I didn't see that on their site, thanks for that info, it actually makes sense.
Here's an article on them.
https://neirad.org/10477/student-life/qa-all-about-post-53/

Westport Vol EMS has Teens starting out as EMR as young as 14 until they take the EMT class at 16.

And these are their rules for teens

EMR | Anyone looking to obtain an Emergency Medical Responder certificate in the State of Connecticut. You must turn 14 years of age by the completion of the class.

EMT | Anyone looking to obtain an Emergency Medical Technician certificate in the State of Connecticut. You must turn 16 years of age by the completion of the class.
Sure. Nothing wrong with that. I was in EMT school at 16. If a teens wants to become an EMR, they should. But still, the town should be funding a fully functional and staffed EMS agency, not taking kids out of high school to patch staffing gaps during the day times; high school students belong in high school.
 

RocketMedic

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If it works in Red Dawn it must be the superior option!
 
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Kavsuvb

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right, they require people to wait until they graduate before they are accepted into the academy. you can train beforehand, but they don't accept kids into the military academies. There is a reason for this.
You forgot that we do have Senior Military colleges like VMI, Norwich, Univ of North Georgia, Citedal, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Mass Maritime, Maine Maritime, SUNY Maritime, Cal Maritime that allow 17 years old in on ROTC scholarships. You have to be 17 years old to obtain an ROTC scholarship but be under 30 years old to get a commission as an officer.

sure... many departments allow this. My current department allows this. my first dept in NJ allowed this. however, they don't allow them to replace an adult firefighter, because they aren't considered fully qualified firefighters.
In Connecticut, many Volunteer fire depts allow cadets to go on calls. They are not allowed to enter a burning building until they are 18 yrs old. They help out on scene such as rehab and overhaul. Here's Connecticut's rules

DOL Guidance for Cadet/Junior Firefighter Programs

DOL initially issued a guidance letter for cadet/junior firefighters in 2004. This year representatives of the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association, and DOL met to further develop the guidelines. On October 25, DOL Commissioner Patricia H. Mayfield issued a new guidance letter that includes the following.

All cadets under 18 are prohibited from:

1. driving any fire department vehicle in an emergency;

2. performing interior fire suppression in structures or vehicles or in wildland fires, except grass fires;

3. entering a confined space as defined in federal regulations;

4. responding to hazardous material fires, spills, or other events that may expose a minor to hazardous material exceeding a threshold set in federal regulations (allows for small motor vehicle fuel leaks);

5. performing firefighting “overhaul” duties (i.e., checking to see that an under-control fire has not spread, which may include ripping open walls or similar activities);

6. operating a personal vehicle with blue emergency lights;

7. performing ice rescue activities;

8. any activity that involves the risk of falling six or more feet; and

9. activities include using a self-contained breathing device or cutting torches, filling air bottles, operating aerial ladders, and any duty involving hose lines with a diameter greater than 2.5 inches (except five- to six-inch drafting suction lines).

Cadets 16 and 17 years old are permitted, between 6 a.m. and 12 midnight, to do the following:

1. take part in supervised training;

2. respond to emergencies on fire department vehicles, after proper training;

3. fight grass fires, after proper training;

4. perform search-and-rescue operations, not including structural fires;

5. enter a fire structure after the fire is out and the incident commander has declared the structure safe;

6. perform traffic control duties after proper training;

7. drive emergency vehicles under 10,000 pounds in nonemergency mode, after proper training;

8. pick up hoses and clean up fire scenes after the incident commander has declared the area safe;

9. use pneumatic- or power-driven saws, shears, Jaws-of-Life type devices, and other power tools only during training;

10. operate certain pumps at fire scenes; and

11. handle charged hose lines up to 1 ¾ inch in diameter.

Cadets 14 and 15 years old are permitted to volunteer only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and may only do the following:

1. observe exterior firefighting activities, while under supervision;

2. clean up at a fire scene, only outside the structure and only after the incident commander declares the scene safe;

3. after proper training and turning age 15, ride on fire department vehicles responding to emergencies;

4. receive training and instruction that does not involve fire, smoke (except theatrical or latex smoke), toxic or noxious gas, or hazardous materials;

5. respond to incidents no later than 7 p.m. and remain on-scene no later than 10 p.m.;

6. attend meetings that end no later than 10 p.m.; and

7. wear protective equipment that readily identifies them as “minor firefighters.”

The work group that drafted the guidelines issued a joint statement that reads, in part:

It is the intent of these [fire cadet] programs to provide a safe, yet meaningful experience for the youth of our communities. These programs are to be viewed as an instructional and educational activity. Cadet programs are not intended to replace fire personnel, but rather to expose our youth to the occupation of firefighting. These guidelines are to be considered maximum parameters for operation. Fire departments are free to restrict the participation of cadets within these guidelines. The safety of the cadets is the highest priority at all times.


Sure. Nothing wrong with that. I was in EMT school at 16. If a teens wants to become an EMR, they should. But still, the town should be funding a fully functional and staffed EMS agency, not taking kids out of high school to patch staffing gaps during the day times; high school students belong in high school.

That's how they get the teens interested in EMS in Connecticut. They start them as EMR's and they take the exam when they are 14 years old. When they turn 16 years old, they are sent to take the EMT class. By 16 years old, High school EMT's are normally High school Juniors and Seniors and EMR's are normally High school Freshmen and Sophomores.

Some towns think it's a win-win situation because it gets High school students interested in healthcare fields and healthcare majors in college as well. The school boards are on it too because it gives them a Co-opt experience when they go to college and they even go on to major in Nursing, Paramedic, Physician assistant school, NP, or biomedical science that leads them into Medical/Dental school. The teens that are in these EMS programs, have to maintain the same requirements that high school athletes are subjected to such as maintaining a certain grade such as no lower than a C- in class. Have good attendance records for both school and EMS.
 

DrParasite

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I'd like to point this out:
They are still allowed to go on calls. I have seen Volunteer fire depts allow cadets to go on calls but are not allowed to go inside a burning building. They are allowed exterior firefighting operations and overhaul operations at the discretion of the Fire officer. Some even allow them on brush fire operations.
and then
In Connecticut, many Volunteer fire depts allow cadets to go on calls. They are not allowed to enter a burning building until they are 18 yrs old. They help out on scene such as rehab and overhaul. Here's Connecticut's rules

DOL Guidance for Cadet/Junior Firefighter Programs

DOL initially issued a guidance letter for cadet/junior firefighters in 2004. This year representatives of the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association, and DOL met to further develop the guidelines. On October 25, DOL Commissioner Patricia H. Mayfield issued a new guidance letter that includes the following.

All cadets under 18 are prohibited from:
<snip>
5. performing firefighting “overhaul” duties (i.e., checking to see that an under-control fire has not spread, which may include ripping open walls or similar activities);
As I keep saying, I support junior programs, to supplement adults, but not to replace them. And Connecticut Fire departments shouldn't be ignoring DOL guidance.
 
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