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AMED hires own training program graduates

AMED has begun hiring the emergency medical technicians who recently completed training at its new building in Lakemont.

The authority has hired five graduates who’ve completed testing and certification — among the 10 who finished the AMED Educational Institute course, said Executive Director Gary Watters.

The authority expects the others to become certified soon, so they can be hired, Watters said.

All were offered jobs at AMED at the beginning of the class, provided they passed the certification tests.

“It’s a good way to get employees in the door,” Watters said.

There is a national shortage of ambulance workers, and AMED has struggled with it.

In mid-fall, AMED had 10 full-time openings. Creation of the training center at the new building was largely in response to the struggle in finding workers.

The first group of students came from a variety of backgrounds, board Chairman Dave Cowger said.

“It was a melting pot,” Watters said. “It’s exciting to see their enthusiasm.”

When the students finish, “they’re completely ready to go on the truck (the ambulance),” Watters said.

AMED District Chief Fred Ferguson was the instructor.

“Fred did a great job,” Watters said.

The next EMT class will probably start early in spring. There are six applicants so far.

The institute can accept 10 for the 240-hour class that lasts for six weeks.

AMED could enhance the institute offerings with an advanced EMT course, according to Watters. Graduates of such a course could administer some medications.

But the upgrade to the institute would require more equipment and a reinspection of the facilities, he said.

Eventually, AMED could offer paramedic classes, but that is “a different accreditation process” and is probably five years off, he said.

AMED also may be able to recruit workers trained as a result of enhanced rural EMS education opportunities created by additional money funneled into the state’s Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund through recently approved legislation, Watters said.

The money goes to the state’s regional EMS councils.

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