Written by Nick Kallem
Kahlil Wehbe remembers the first call he had as an Emergency Medical Technician paged to a motor vehicle accident.
Jumping into his car, he raced to the hospital where he met his partners and climbed into the ambulance. The excitement and adrenaline rush overwhelmed him as the ambulance engine turned over, the lights came on and the sirens blared.
“Racing through town to get to the patient, all I kept thinking about was what we might need to do to help this person or persons in need. What if I panic? What if I mess up? Once on scene, my partner and I determined what needed to be done. We got the patients loaded and transported. The feelings I had after that experience were rewarding because I was able to help a person in need.” said Wehbe, EMT-B for Northeast Montana Health Services.
Currently, NEMHS is seeking qualified applicants interested in taking a First Responder course. Those who complete the class will be able to provide pre-hospital care and transport patients while learning lifesaving skills such as cardio pulmonary resuscitation, trauma care, newborn delivery, splinting and bleeding control.
The course will run in the evenings Oct. 21 to Nov. 2 in both Poplar and Wolf Point. In Poplar, it will be held at the ambulance garage and, in Wolf Point, it will be held in the Trinity Hospital education room located in the basement of the ambulance garage.
To qualify to take the course participants must have a high school diploma or G.E.D., a Montana driver’s license and no pending or current criminal convictions.
The First Responder course consists of about 44 hours of both didactic and field training. First Responders will learn basic life support skills and how to treat patients in order to be a valuable asset on the ambulance. Their primary job initially will be assisting the EMT with patient care. This will allow then the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the field. Eventually, they will be partnered with another First Responder and will be responsible for providing patient care on-scene.
Following the initial First Responder course, students will have the opportunity to take an additional course to transition to becoming an EMT, which further advances their skill level.
NEMHS currently has 15 emergency medical services personnel at the Wolf Point campus and 10 at the Poplar campus who operate the NEMHS Emergency Services. Those individuals include a range of drivers, first responders and EMT’s.
NEMHS operates four ambulances, two in each community of Poplar and Wolf Point, and runs more than 52,000 miles in one year, averaging five calls a day, which totals approximately 2,500 calls a year.
“We are always seeking licensed EMT’s as well as people interested in becoming certified to work with us. This is a rewarding job and those who decide to become a part of our services become an invaluable part of the community,” said Nonette Brown, EMS Director for NEMHS.
Today, in the United States, there are over 840,000 EMT’s and 72,500 paramedics. This equates to one paramedic for every 4,300 people in the U.S. The need for these first responders is projected to grow, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 33 percent over the next 10 years.
Applications must be received by Oct. 11.