Marla Bertsch and Jenny McKinstry are Miller’s newest Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). They were certified just in time to officially celebrate Emergency Medical Services Week (May 19-25).
The theme of Emergency Medical Services Week for 2013 is “EMS: One Mission. One Team.” That’s the idea that appealed to both women.
Bertsch and McKinstry were part of a class of 17 from Miller and neighboring communities. The training is both time-consuming and rigorous, and trainees are required to purchase the books needed.
EMT trainees must complete 180 hours of class practical training, and then successfully complete a written test, in order to be certified.
Bertsch said all class members passed the practical requirements. They have two years to complete the written test, and testing is available at different sites.
Classes began in February and ended the beginning of May. Instructors were Scott and Janna Larson of Highmore. Certified EMTs also helped with the training sessions.
The classes were held at the Hand County Courthouse on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and all day Saturdays.
McKinstry commented, “We were trained in everything under the sun. Everyone was so helpful and I learned so much.”
Both women say they had always been interested in being an EMT.
“It’s something I always wanted to do. This time, it worked out that I could finally do it,” Bertsch said. “I’m looking at doing the full range of services. That’s what it’s all about.”
“The training is something I’ve always thought about,” McKinstry echoed. “When I saw the ad in the paper for the training, I thought now is the right time. I couldn’t do it when the kids were small, so it worked out.”
McKinstry says for her, all the training and time was worth it. “Absolutely yes. I’m very excited to be able to help people in need.”
Helping is what it is all about. EMTs respond to emergency calls, perform certain medical procedures and transport patients to hospital facilities. An EMT is trained to assess a patient’s condition, and to perform emergency medical procedures until the patient can be transferred to facilities for advanced medical care.
Continuing education is also required, but at this point both Bertsch and McKinstry are excited to be certified, and get on with providing services when needed the most.