By Billy Stitz
Moody County’s EMTs will soon be able to take an advanced training class that will allow them to administer more onsite emergency procedures.
Some of the senior EMT and paramedic staff members in Flandreau have wanted to offer this class for several years but have never had the space or resources to do so. So when the Flandreau ambulance and EMT staff moved into their new, more spacious, building, the idea came back to them to offer the advanced EMT class.
After completion of the class, the EMTs will be able to apply certain medications that they were not able to administer prior. For example, if a Moody County EMT arrives at a call and the victim seems to have suffered a heart attack. The EMT will now be able to administer nitro glycerin, a drug that opens up the circulation of the body and allows more blood to the part of the heart that may have been damaged. Before taking this course, the best they could do is load the victim on the ambulance and transport them to the hospital, wasting precious minutes in a potentially life-threatening moment for the patient.
Other medicines such as emergency Albuterol can be given to asthma patients or Narcan, a medicine that is administered to suspected opiate drug overdose patients that would revive the victim from their coma.
Both the EMTs and the citizens will see major benefits. The community will have the comfort of knowing their EMTs are trained to the highest level and could now save lives that otherwise would be put in jeopardy through an ambulance ride.
The EMTs benefit in a few ways also. Other than being advanced in their field, the hours taken in the class also count towards the 72 hours of continuing education that they are required to finish every two years. Without this class, most part time EMTs like the ones employed in Moody County, would not be able to take a class similar to this because it would involve travel and many more hours that they could not fulfill while working their other jobs.
Four people plan on taking on the role of ‘professor’ for this course and will also include some guest lectures by local physicians.
The only thing standing in the way between now and the suspected November 1st start date, is approval by the South Dakota EMS office. A spokesperson for the Moody County EMTs does not suspect that there will be any hang-ups that will prevent the class from being offered in Moody County.
The class will be offered to any Moody County EMT that has an interest in advancing their on site abilities. It is a 180-hour class that spans 16 weeks. The classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday nights and every other Saturday for the whole day. So far six EMTs in Moody County have shown interest in taking part in the course. The class will be completed by February 19, 2013. After the completion of the class, each student will be required to pass a hands on clinical station, or practical exam, administered by the state. They will also be required to take a computer-based test in Sioux Falls before being awarded their license