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I know the fire service EMS contingent is going to flame me for this, but I always thought EMS had more in common with law enforcement than the fire service.

OLD SAYBROOK – Police Chief Michael Spera would be facing a nearly $30,000 bill for overtime costs in the next few weeks but for officers’ generosity.

Almost every officer is training to become a certified emergency medical technician by taking 90 hours of classes for about two months after their shifts and on days off, without overtime pay.

Those who aren’t participating are already certified.

Think about it; high mobility rather than fixed locations, some degree of personal autonomy within the rank structure, strong communications and interpersonal skills, creative problem solving…

… all these things are part and parcel of EMS, and they seem to describe law enforcement far better than they do fireground operations. Even an interrogation and gathering patient history have a great deal in common.

Combined law enforcement/EMS isn’t a very common system model, but it is done in other places. Gretna, LA has had a dual role law enforcement/EMS system for many years, and I’m sure there are others.

Try as I might, the only negative thing I can say about this idea is that, at only 90 hours, their EMT training is only about half as long as it should be. The 1993 National Standard Curriculum for EMT-B was a minimum of 110 hours, and most schools did more than that. I doubt that implementation of the new National EMS Educational Standards would make the course shorter.

So what say you, readers? Does a law enforcement/EMS model make sense?

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