So when you call an ambulance in Texas, what can you expect to show up? By Texas State law every ambulance is required to be staffed with at least two currently certified EMS providers, and how they are trained is dependent on the EMS Provider License granted by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The Texas Administrative Code Title 25 Part 1 Chapter 157 Subchapter b Rule157.11 designates the different levels of ambulances and the services and equipment they must provide in order to maintain that certification.
Generally speaking the lowest level of certification that works on an ambulance is the Emergency Medical Technician – Basic (EMT-B). They are identified by the blue patch on the sleeve and have received instruction on patient assessment, vital signs, automated external defibrillators, bandaging and splinting and various other skills that are required by Texas Department of Health and the National Registry of Emergency of Emergency Medical Technicians. To be certified at this level the person has completed a minimum of 144 hours of classroom education, 24 hours of hospital clinical rotations and 36 clinical hours of field rotations.
The most advanced level of pre-hospital certification is the EMT-Paramedic (EMT-P) and designated by the red patch. The people that have completed this level of training have at least completed their EMT-B certification AND an additional 624 clock hours of classroom and clinical training. The amount of classroom and clinical hours vary between programs because of the unique needs of paramedic training and the variance of shifts worked by emergency service providers. All programs must be approved by Texas Department of Health and are routinely audited to ensure compliance.
The certification testing is not done by the Texas Department of Health, but by an independent non-profit organization known as the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). This ensures that all of the skills of pre-hospital providers nationwide are consistent and the content of the courses stay relevant to the changes in health care.
These are just the guidelines for initial certification, there are also other courses for special situations required for Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, mass casualty situations and various other types of courses. Pre-hospital providers are also required to take continuing education classes to maintain their certifications, divided in specific content areas, 40 every four years for EMT-B and 160 every 4 years for EMT-P.
So that is what you get when you call 911…..