EMT Program Teaches Live Saving Job Skills

DIANA GILL
El Vaquero Staff Writer

They are the future firefighters, nurses and lifesavers of our country. They are also the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class.

The EMT provides emergency care and prompt transport for the sick and injured. Their job is to start the initial treatment and report to the hospital what is wrong with the patient.

“The EMT is the first one on the scene of an accident,” said Robert Lashier Director of Prehospital Care and Education, Allied Health Department.

“They are the first face a sick person will see. The whole idea of the EMT is that they are the entrance into the health care system for the patient,” Lashier said.

The EMT program has been part of GCC’s Allied Heath Department for 27 years, and is still going strong.

This intense semester-length class is 6.5 units and combines lecture with hands-on experience. At the completion of the class the student receives a certificate of completion.

Besides the regular class meeting, the student is required to complete 24 hours of ambulance time and 16 hours of hospital time. These clinical rotations give the EMT student the opportunity to gain hands on experience.

“I want to become a nurse but I’m starting as an EMT to get a head start in the medical program,” said student Shelby Anderson.
The EMT student completes two 12-hour shifts on an ambulance with the Shaffer Ambulance Company to gain ambulance experience. During this time, the student works with practicing EMTs as part of the medical team.

GCC has a contract with Shaffer, a local ambulance company.
Shaffer stations in Los Angeles arrange for the students to work at their facilities.

During the hospital clinical time, the students participate in a four-week rotation of four hours each week. Students float around during this rotation period to different departments within the hospital and provide medical care to patients under the direction of an EMT or nurse.

While clinical training is underway, an instructor from the school observes the students to see how well they perform with these patients. At the end of each four-hour rotation, the students meet with the clinical instructor and go over the rotation for that day and their effectiveness in providing care.

The EMT program uses Glendale Adventist Medical Center and Northridge Hospital for its hospital rotations.

After the completion of the EMT program the student must take a National Registry Exam given by the Department of Transportation.

This test, composed of 150 questions, covers medical questions ranging from how to perform an emergency child delivery to how to treat a patient who is having hard time breathing. In order for the student to be certified as an EMT they must pass this test with a 70% or higher.
“To become a firefighter in the state of California you need to have your EMT certification,” said Lashier. “No fire department will look at you without your EMT certification.”


Having the medical training is important to those in the fire department because 80% of their calls are medical related.

Mike Roux an EMT student said, “It’s the first step to becoming a firefighter. Since I wanted to get into the fire academy I took this EMT class.”

Lashier said, “Forty percent of the class is seeking firefighting as employment and as a career. The majority of the rest are interested in health care or law enforcement.”

Rick Hayne GCC EMT instructor said, “It’s a great job opportunity. It’s an excellent stepping-stone to other healthcare careers.”

The medical training the EMT course gives is also helpful to those who are going into other medical related programs.

“We have a number of students that are going into nursing and have come back to say they had a better understanding of heath care,” said Lashier.

“It teaches how to work with people, working with the public. EMT teaches what is not covered in other classes. It teaches you critical thinking. You can’t memorize EMT,” said Hayne.

Lashier said, “One thing that is great about this program is that we try to get students to look at something other than themselves, and to see that there are other things in the universe.”