19 ambulance operators and Emergency Medical Responders certified in Pohnpei

20180626 192140By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

July 20, 2018

Pohnpei—As of today, 19 Pohnpei fire fighters have qualified as Emergency Medical Responders (EMR) after a one month intensive training in Pohnpei.

The training, which was paid for with Compact Capacity Building funds was conducted by Daren D. Burrier, Guam Assistant Fire Chief. Burrier has a long history as a fire fighter and emergency medical trainer.

Most of the graduates had been through other emergency medical trainings before and the current training has built on their previous skills. Next week they will begin a separate firefighting training.

Chief Patrick Carl said that the Department of Public Safety has been working to establish a 911 emergency system and hopes to have that system up and running by October. The system would work like most 911 systems and now will be able to dispatch trained Emergency Medical Responders. Until that system is up and running, the fire department and its Emergency Medical Responders can still be reached at 320-2223.

“This level of training is fantastic for Pohnpei’s demographic,” Burrier said. “They’ll be able to run with two people on the ambulance and be able to assist and treat people with illnesses and injuries prior to arrival at the hospital.”20180713 152455

Effectively, the Emergency Medical Responders make proper patient assessments, get the medical history of the patient, and give effective treatment for the patient to help stabilize them while en route to the hospital. They will be able to radio the hospital and talk to a doctor or a nurse and let them know what they’re bringing in so that the hospital is prepared to receive the patient in order to expedite care for the patient.

The difference between a paramedic and an EMR is the level of training. Burrier said that paramedics have training just short of physician assistants or a nurse practitioner. It requires over 1200 hours of training. Burrier said that in order to get the program going and in looking at the current experience of the personnel here, he recommended starting with EMR training which can be completed in about 100 hours. He said that when Guam started their emergency response program several years ago, they also started with the same level of training. The EMR training gives responders the basics to respond to patients, what he called the ABC’s— airway, breathing, and circulation. From there giving a secondary assistance such as providing oxygen, treating for shock, helping a patient in a diabetic emergency by administering glucose, assisting with nitro glycerin tablets, and albuterol inhalers.

20180713 142939“So it gets them on board on understanding in practiced interactions with the public,” he said. “From there, the next step, which we hope to see in the next couple of years, is moving up to the next level of training which is Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), which requires about 170 additional hours of training. EMT is the minimum level of training that we have in Guam.”

The EMR training was intensive running the gamut from laws pertaining to EMR, report writing, communication, child delivery, back board movement of injured patients, and a wide range of other important topics.

Pohnpei medical responders will work in teams of two on rotating 24 hour shifts.

Continuous training is required for emergency responders and much more training is planned including high angle rope rescues and a variety of emergency response techniques.

Burrier said that he was in Pohnpei two years ago for a similar training. He said that this time around, the energy and desire to learn displayed by the students had gone far beyond his expectations. “Their attentiveness and alertness is there. They were interacting with the people. They weren’t so shy about it. They’re more secure in themselves. Their patient assessment skills have increased…They’ve done a tremendous job and I would say that if I was in a situation where I would need their help, I could count on them to do the job,” Burrier said.

“They’re doing something that is totally unique to anywhere else in the world,” he said. “Anywhere else there are already mentors in place. There are already other people doing the job. Here, there’s no one mentoring them other than when an instructor is here. Here, they have to count on each other and I’ve seen them working together really well.”