Anyone Can Become an EMT – Including You!
EMTs and First Responders come from all walks of life. They are your kid’s school teacher, the mechanic who fixes your car, the employees at the bank, even the local accountant or attorney from your hometown. The truth is pretty much anyone can become involved in EMS.
While the people who operate as First Responders and EMTs are pretty special, there really is nothing about them that is any different than you. They have just had training to be able to take care of patients during a medical emergency.
You too can receive that same training and become licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician or First Responder. If you were able to graduate from high school you probably have what it takes to become a First Responder or an EMT.
While many EMTs and First Responders in Wisconsin are volunteers or work part-time, a paying, full-time career in EMS is also something that you can consider. Ambulance services, mostly in larger cities, are often looking for EMTs to join their organization. Municipal fire departments also hire new recruits from time to time, although there are typically hundreds of people that apply for those jobs, making them more difficult to obtain.
Volunteers either sign up for on-call shifts or simply respond whenever they are available and in the area. These EMS providers carry a pager with them to alert them of an ambulance call. Paid EMS providers often work 8, 16 or 24-hour shifts. Full-time EMTs and Firefighters almost always work 24-hour shifts.
You Can Do It – Today!
The easiest way to become involved in EMS is to contact the local ambulance service or fire department where you live. These services are very often looking for people just like you. You don’t have to have any previous training as they will send you to school and often even pay for it. In exchange, they will expect you to be a member of their organization and sign up for call time with them.
If you live in a larger city that is served by a full-time fire department or ambulance service, you still may have some options. The first is to look for a volunteer or paid-on-call service somewhere in your area that will allow you to become a member without living in their community. In these cases you’ll sign up for a call shift and then stay at their station during your shift. There are dozens of services in Wisconsin that will provide this opportunity.
Finally, check with one of the private ambulance services that may be near you. These companies often are also looking for new EMTs. Many will allow you to work occasional or part-time shifts.
If your dream is to become a full-time firefighter, EMT or Paramedic, the best way to eventually realize that goal is by starting out with a volunteer or private service. Many of today’s full-time providers started out this way. Then, when you go to apply for a full-time job, you’ll already have training and experience which often places you higher on the list. Of course you can also put in your application with a full-time fire department, take the test and hope for the best. These departments often keep a list of potential recruits for a period of two or three years.
Need Help Finding Your Local EMS Provider?
If you just can’t seem to find a local EMS service or fire department, your next step will be to contact us here at the Wisconsin EMS Association. Very often we are able to help identify a local EMS service that you can join. We’ll even put you in touch with that service.
If all else fails, or if you would rather not join an EMS service at this time, you can try contacting the closest training center to your community. While class seats most often go first to students sponsored by an EMS service, you can often still get enrolled in EMT or First Responder class on your own. Check the EMS Education page to find the EMS training center that is closest to you.
Don’t Wait – Get Started Today!
Becoming an EMT or First Responder is something that you can do! Many people think that EMS is all about blood, gore, injuries and death. While we do see those things occasionally, the bulk of EMS calls are very routine involving relatively minor injuries or illnesses. Help and support are there for the occasional brutally-traumatic call.
Many current EMTs and First Responders started out just like you, wondering if they are going to be able to do this. They quickly found out that they can. Plus, the knowledge you will gain can be taken with you wherever you go. While everyone else will be panicked and unsure of what to do during an emergency, your training as an EMT or First Responder will help you remain calm and able to assist during nearly any emergency that you encounter.
So, what are you waiting for? There is no better time than now to get started. Pick up the phone and make that call. It will open up more doors for you than you ever imagined.