It’s that day again. You know, Tuesday.
As of a month ago, I am taking a class on Tuesday nights.
Tuesdays have been busy for me since I joined my volunteer department… Coming up on five years now. The department business meeting, drills, and maintenance parties are always held on Tuesday night.
So it will be a few months before I attend another meeting at the VFD. They are cool about it, though, as the class is Firefighter II. So the idea is that I will bring back useful skills.
It’s a long class. It’s four hours on Tuesday night plus some Saturdays and Sundays through May.
I’m interested in the class but am somewhat surprised to find myself in it. I knew the class was being offered; it is being sponsored by my paid department. I let the sign-up date sneak up and so just signed up for it a week before the class started, sort of on the spur of the moment.
Last week we studied foam. Then we went out in the parking lot and tried it out.
The class may be challenging because I am right at the start of my EMS recert cycle. Between now and the end of February I have to get something like 40 hours of EMS continuing education. Hopefully I will get these hours as one three-day block and a two-day block. Recerting for EMS has to be my priority… I can function perfectly well as a Firefighter I, my current firefighting level. If my EMS certs lapse, though, I can’t work or volunteer on the medical side until I get them reinstated. They lapse if not recertified by March 31.
There are four certifications that I need to update…
– Vermont EMT-Intermediate (I-03)
– New Hampshire EMT-Intermediate
– National Registry EMT-Intermediate (I-85)
– CPR for the Professional Rescuer
I additionally hold a California EMT-Basic certification. I will intentionally be letting that expire; I got it through reciprocity last year when I was in the bay area for an extended time, hoping to use it running with a department someplace. They don’t do per-diem public safety workers out there the same way they do here so I ended up never using it.
CPR will take four hours to recert, more or less. I can probably get someone to recert me on shift at the FD at some point; I know some coworkers who are instructors.
The primary requirement for recertification in New Hampshire is to recert with the National Registry of EMTs. The National Registry requires a 36 hour refresher course, plus 36 hours of additional continuing education.
I’m hoping to go to SOLO in Conway, NH, for my refresher; we’ll see if that works out. SOLO is where I attended my first serious emergency medical training (Wilderness First Responder) and where I eventually got my Basic. I can’t say enough good things about the school; I go back whenever I have an excuse. (There is a link to their website in the right-hand sidebar.)
I took Acute Cardiac Life Support in the spring; that is good for 16 hours of continuing education. That leaves twenty hours to fill.
I get some in-service training at my paid FD related to EMS; due to my erratic schedule, though, I get relatively little training this way. I just reviewed my records and I have 13 hours for this… So I need to find seven hours to fulfill me requirements for the National Registry.
The last thing I need for the National Registry is the signature of ‘my’ medical director. This doctor is the head of the Emergency Department where I deliver patients; I actually have a choice of two. Getting the signature will not be a real problem though will certainly be a hassle.
That leaves Vermont. In Vermont, I need to get 40 hours of Continuing Education. This will be covered by the continuing education hours that I need for the National Registry. Then I need to take a 120 question exam and perform three skill stations; trauma assessment and management, medical assessment and management, and cardiac arrest management.
It’s unfortunate that Vermont won’t recognize the National Registry as New Hampshire does, but they do not. The exam is not hard; the questions are at the EMT-Basic level and the skill stations are second nature. Spending a morning in February or March taking the test is just a huge hassle, though.