An emergency medical technician (EMT) is an individual who is trained to respond to emergency situations and perform lifesaving techniques until a patient can be transported to a hospital or treatment facility. Many are also responsible for the safe transfer of patients via ambulance from the scene of an accident or sudden illness to the closest medical facility. In most areas, they have to undergo intense training through a trade school or technical college and obtain a license.
Most times, an EMT works from his or her ambulance with one or two partners. They are given instructions via radio from a dispatcher, who gives them the locations of emergency situations and the types of illness of injuries if the information is available. The ambulance is generally equipped with commonly used lifesaving devices and medications, such as defibrillators, wound dressings, and drugs to control blood flow. EMTs must be physically capable and strong in order to lift and move patients and equipment.
There are four levels of EMT, each one having a different amount of training and experience. A level 1 is not licensed to transport patients, but can administer some lifesaving procedures in extreme cases. Many police officers or fire fighters are trained at this level. The next three levels are basic, intermediate, and paramedic. Generally a person begins work as a basic EMT and then continues schooling while also working on the field in order to complete training.
Some EMTs work for a private ambulance company, while others may be employed by a particular hospital or hospital system. Both have the same basic job description and usually similar pay-scales. Service quality is generally the same, as both those who work at hospitals and who are privately employed are trained in the same way and must pass the same licensing exams.
On average, these allied health professionals work a 24-hour workday, followed by 48 hours off. Much like firefighters, they often have a housing station where they can sleep in between calls, eat, and rest or shower. In some cases, they may work the entire 24 hours. A typical day on the job involves taking calls from a dispatcher and driving to the scene of an accident. Once there, they administer the necessary aid to revive or stabilize patients so that they can be loaded into the ambulance for care in an emergency room.