LRGHealthcare joins local fire departments in effort to get EMTs past higher test hurdle

FRANKLIN — New professional standards for mid-level EMTs have been adopted by the state of New Hampshire and yesterday the Fire Department celebrated five of their EMTs passing the test that examines the new proficiencies.
The five, including Chief Kevin LaChapelle and Dept. Fire Chief Robert Goodearl took a 30 hours course with the guidance of LRGHealthcare and Laconia Deputy Chief Sean Riley.
Riley is employed as head of emergency services by the Laconia Fire Department but his salary is paid by LRGHeathcare. A certified paramedic, he heads the health inspection and medical training for the department.
LRGH Media Director Natalie Rudzinskyj joined firefighters at the Franklin Station to explain how LRGHealthcare is committed to seeing all of the area's 150 mid-level EMTs reach the new certification level before the 2016 cutoff date.
She said LRGH purchased the text books and study guides for each person taking Riley's class.
According to Riley, there are three classifications of EMTs in New Hampshire — A-EMTs that are first level or first responders; B-EMTs, that are the subject of the new, more stringent requirements and testing, and paramedics, which are the highest level of emergency responders. Each level has specific duties and levels of emergency medical services he or she can provide.
As it stands now, to become a B-EMT, a person needs 250 hours of instruction and a practicum. The new standards, which mostly involve the hard sciences of biology and chemistry, require an already certified B-EMT to take an additional 30 hours of classes plus about 90 hours of independent study.
Goodearl said he has passed the certification and while the studying and material was very difficult, he said it has made him a better EMT.
He described the class as some "heavy lifting science" but said the people in Franklin took it very seriously and as a result most of them didn't have any problems passing it.

CUTLINE - (Goodearl and Franklin) Franklin Fire Department Deputy Chief Robert Goodearl explains a component of the newest standards for mid-level EMT testing. Looking on is LRGH Media Director Natalie Redzinskyj. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)