Advance care training for EMTs

NORTH COUNTY – Area residents will receive advanced emergency medical care after current EMTs graduate from a specialized from a course that is being taught for the first time in the state of Washington.

Tonasket EMS Director Michael Greene, a paramedic, petitioned the state to teach the course that will certify current Tonasket EMTs to start IVs, administer numerous medications and advanced procedures. In addition to new EMT students from Tonasket, current and new EMTs from Ferry County and Oroville will be joining the class.

Greene received approval for the course from the Department of Health and County Medical Program Director after convincing them that providing advanced emergency care at the scene and during lengthy transports, rather than at the hospital, will help save lives.

Greene said he is honored to be teaching the new course to current Tonasket EMTs “They are the most motivated and dedicated group of volunteers I have ever had the honor to work with,” he said.

Almost all of the current Tonasket EMTs are taking the advanced training course.

The class will be held mostly on weekends and include 10-hour days and travel to western Washington to work in busy emergency rooms and taking a national certification exam.

Students are paying for the class themselves but books are being paid for with a $3,000 donation from the Okanogan Family Faire and a private donation from local community supporter Peter James.

Greene says part of the reason the county medical program director and Washington State Department of Health approved the new course was the lengthy ambulance transport times for the 1,600 square mile ambulance district.

“I explained to the county medical program director that the Tonasket EMS District is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island (1,254 square miles),” he said. “What makes the class unique is the combining of basic and advanced students in the same training course. By allowing new EMTs to take the class alongside the current Tonasket EMTs both groups will benefit. The new EMT students will learn from the experience and knowledge of the current EMTs. The current EMTs learn by teaching others. It is also more cost effective for the students to combine two classes into one.”

The class size is limited to 20 students, with about five spots remaining. The registration deadline is Nov. 24. The advanced course is open to currently certified EMTs with at least one year of experience. The basic class is open to anyone over age 18 that are either high school graduates or have obtained their GED.

The course will begin Jan. 4 and run Saturdays and Sundays for 10 hours, plus numerous Tuesday and Wednesday classes, for a total of 210 hours.

For additional information, contact Greene at (509) 560-0080.