Thanks in part to the fact that my EMT course is being taught through Atlantic Health's training arm, I was lucky enough to swing a shift with our local paramedics from the Mobile Intensive Care Unit or MICU.
I was particularly lucky to work with Kathy O'Shea, who supports the Mendham and Chesters as part of the Medic-11 unit out of Morristown Hospital and is also an MFAS Trustee. As a former police dispatcher and EMT, and now a long-standing Paramedic, she gave me a ton of great advice and guidance throughout the day, and I'm extremely grateful for all of it.
For the full 12 hour shift, we responded to calls across Morris County (including one here in Mendham -- I think the local team was a bit surprised to see me step out of the medic truck, as I didn't tell anyone exactly when I was doing my ride along).
Of course, it's also useful for EMTs to understand these interventions, and be prepared to support Paramedics in their application and use. This is why Advanced Life Saving (ALS) skills are covered as part of the EMT coursework.
But not all calls require Paramedic interventions, and one the key takeaways I got from my time with Kathy and her partner Dave was just how critical the basic EMT assessment skills are in terms of determining when and why Paramedics are truly needed.
After all, if they are responding to a call of questionable need simply because an EMT decided to request Paramedics "just in case", it certainly means that they are unavailable for someone else in a truly life-threatening situation.