Up to now:
I've been a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician, Basic (NREMT-B) Since August 2001. I went through the school offered by the Coast Guard in Petaluma, CA. I didn't get much chance as a reservist to use my skills. Not as much as I'd like, anyway. I now am volunteering as an EMT with a local fire department and am working on getting a reciprocal certification from my state.
I started school in January, 2003. It's great! I'm having a blast and it has been a real treat to be a 31 year old Freshman! Alas, due to the embarrassing nature of our foreign policy, I was called to active duty in the middle of the semester. My professors were great and accommodated me with my courses. I was fortunate to be "deployed" to only 15 miles from my house. That's what I get for specializing in domestic law enforcement, eh? I spent the summer on duty and treated a grand total of ONE PATIENT!! Fell out of a boat. Got a knock on the head. Slight bleeding. Refused transport. Sigh!
Due to me being gone so much, I had been having trouble getting checked out at my firehouse. I had gone along as an observer on many an ambulance calls but I didn't get to do anything until someone signed a piece of paper saying I knew how to ride on the ambulance. Sigh! Meanwhile, I'm back off active duty (I'm a reserve yo-yo) and in school. Finished fall semester in December. I'm using my break in January to get all of my certifications done and start riding that ambulance, Dangit!
The next step will be to get checked out on the rescue squad. We have a big piece of interstate in our first due area and we do a lot of extractions. I'm looking forward to treating patients with a wide variety of trauma including those associated with auto accidents. Here's the snag:
I'm a volunteer with my county. I'm supposed to get "turnout gear" or protective clothing when I get signed up. I can't ride or respond to calls in the Squad until I have that gear. In order to get the gear, I have to go to a school that the county offers (did that) get all my vaccinations (did that) and get some signatures from my company saying I know how to tie knots and that I read the general orders. I did all this stuff but in a weird order. Suffice it to say, I have to go track down a volunteer chief who lives about 30 miles away and get him to sign my paperwork. I then have to take the paperwork to one place, 20 miles in the other direction, and get and ID tag, then go to ANOTHER place (closer this time) and get my turnout gear. PHEW! What a mess!
The biggest complicating factor has been I've known nothing about this process when I signed up. If someone had said, "Ok, New Guy, This is what you have to do..." or had at least handed me a to do list on paper, I would have been able to avoid a lot of trouble. I recently saw an email from the assistant chief at my company stating that the "Preceptor" training program has been put back in effect. I guess he did listen to me after all.
Pretty soon now, I'll have that gear and be ready to go! Ah! This waiting for someone else is KILLING me!