There are many levels of care that can potentially arrive at your home when you call 9-1-1. In Part 3, we will explore the different levels of care, amount of training, skills performed, and what level of care we deliver in the City of Patterson.
CPR certification trains a person to perform CPR. This is the lowest level of care that will potentially arrive to your home from the volunteer firefighters. These individuals cannot administer oxygen and are trained in checking for a pulse, and if one is not found performing compressions and using a one-way valve to administer breaths. Training at this level takes approximately 4 hours through the American Heart Association.
Title 22 First Aid Training
Title 22 establishes the minimum first aid training that a firefighter must have to respond to you as a member of a department. It requires 21 hours of first aid and CPR training, so if the CPR component is removed, they will receive an additional 17 hours of first aid training. This allows them to learn the basics of first aid and the use of basic first aid equipment. These individuals also cannot administer oxygen but can use a bag valve mask to breathe for an individual using room air.
First Responder training is 40 hours of first aid training in addition to a 4-hour CPR course. This gives the individual more first-aid training and more skills in patient assessment so when a higher level of care arrives on the scene to treat the patient they can paint a good picture of what is going on with the patient.
EMT (Basic Life Support)
This level of care requires 180 hours of classroom and skills based training along with 24 hours of supervised clinical experience. This process takes approximately 3 months to complete. This is the lowest level of medical training that any career member of Patterson Fire Department has been granted and the highest level of care the volunteers are able to provide, if trained to this level. This allows for the administration of oxygen and some other life-saving drugs that do not require an IV for administration.
Paramedic (Advanced Life Support)
To be trained as a Paramedic the individual must first be trained as an EMT. Some schools require the individual to practice as an EMT for 3 months prior to applying to a Paramedic program. This level of care requires a minimum of 1,090 hours and up to 1,800 hours of classroom, skills, and patient care. It is broken down as follows: 450 hours of classroom and skills training, 160 hours of supervised clinical experience, and at least 480 hours and 40 patient contacts as a Paramedic Intern. This process can take up to two years to complete. This allows Paramedics to do many skills including IV’s, intubations, administering of IV drugs, and many other life-saving skills. This is the level of care we provide as career firefighters in the City of Patterson. This is also the same level of care Patterson District Ambulance provides on their ambulances.
Service Delivery in Patterson
The Patterson Fire Department serves the citizens within the City Limits of Patterson. By our contract between the IAFF Local 4577 and the City of Patterson the city has agreed to staff both stations with at least one person at the level of Paramedic, the highest level of care. Ideally this person will be of the Firefighter classification as this allows for the best dedicated care to the patient. More on that here in Part 8. We also serve mutual aid, when requested, to I-5, Patterson residents outside city limits, and surrounding communities, allowing us to provide Paramedic level care to those citizens as well.