Frequently Asked Questions
What do EMTs and Paramedics really do?
First responder and medical TV shows rarely depict what EMS professionals do on a regular basis. Most calls do not involve jaw-dropping, dramatic rescues with multiple lives saved. However, we never know what to expect until we arrive on scene. What sounds like a routine call could turn out to be a life-threatening situation, so we must be ready with the skills and equipment necessary to treat all types of injuries and illnesses.
We provide emergency care to patients having shortness of breath, asthma attacks, heart attacks, or allergic reactions. We treat people who fall inside their home, out in the yard, or on the athletic field. We respond to motor vehicle collisions involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. We take charge of our patient’s care, gain their trust, and advocate for them when they are scared, confused, or unable to make an informed decision. We use our training and skills on every call to help people who are injured, in pain, and need help.
We make a difference.
How long is the EMT class? What additional training is involved?
EMT class is 100+ classroom hours and is usually completed in 4-5 months. Classes are offered in the evening (e.g., Tuesday and Thursday, 6-10 PM, and some Saturdays), or as an all-day class over a much shorter period. Classes are a combination of lecture and hands-on training. At the end of the class, you must pass a practical (hands-on) skills test and a written exam.
After successfully completing the EMT class, the real training begins. We expect our trainees to train at least 8 hours per week. You will sign up for training shifts to work with a BVA Field Training Officer (FTO) on an ambulance. This is known as the clearing process. The more hours you put in and the more calls you take, the more experienced and comfortable you will become—and the quicker you can take charge of patient care on an ambulance. Training can begin at the beginning or approximately halfway through the EMT class at our Training Manager’s discretion.
Clearing as an EMT on the ambulance can take from 2-6 months to complete.
What is the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic?
EMTs provides Basic Life Support (BLS). This includes CPR, assistance with breathing, removing airway obstructions, and treating injuries, falls, psychiatric calls, and a wide range of basic emergency issues. Classroom training is usually completed in 4-5 months.
Paramedics provide Advanced Life Support (ALS). In addition to BLS skills, they are trained to start IVs, give medications, do ECGs to detect cardiac problems, intubate patients, and treat more advanced emergency issues. To become a Paramedic, you must first be an EMT with field experience. You will enroll in a paramedic program which includes up to 8 courses and a rigorous exam and takes about 18-24 months to complete. In Rochester, the program is offered at Monroe Community College.
When I need an ambulance, can I call BVA directly to save time?
Call 911 for all medical emergencies. This is the fastest way to request an ambulance. The 911 Dispatchers will not only dispatch an ambulance, they will offer emergency medical instructions while help is en route to your location.
What information should I have ready for the ambulance crew? What should I bring to the hospital?
To assist our crews, have a list of the patient’s medical problems, medications, and allergies available. Use our EMS Alert to document important information and post it on your refrigerator. Stop by BVA to obtain an EMS Alert, or download a copy here.
If a family member is present, or if you are safely able to do so, gather your house keys, shoes, phone, and in cold weather, a jacket to bring with you.
I have a DNR. Where should I keep it so the EMTs & Paramedics know my wishes?
Keep all pertinent medical documentation (DNR, Health Care Proxy, EMS Alert containing information such as medical history, medications, allergies, etc.) on your refrigerator door for easy access by our first responders.
How can I schedule CPR/AED classes, blood pressure screenings and other community services?
Contact our Assistant Chief-Training at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 271-2718 ext. 4034.
What items are in the BVA Loan Closet?
We have wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, and canes available for short-term (up to 30 days) loan.
Call 271-2718 or stop by our base during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 AM-5 PM) to see what we have available. On evenings or weekends, we recommend that you call first to make sure our staff is available to assist you.
Will I get a bill for BVA’s services?
We bill the patient’s insurance company in accordance with all applicable laws.
Why do you bill if you are a volunteer organization?
Although we are a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, our major source of revenue to fund BVA’s operational expenses comes from patient insurance billing.