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EMSA’s New Recruits Put Training To The Test

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The newest group of EMSA paramedics are preparing to hit the streets to save lives, but first they are testing for one of the most stressful tasks they will face, reviving a cardiac arrest patient.

Oklahoma City paramedics have to respond to anywhere from seven to 750 “megacodes,” or cardiac arrests, a year. Every day is a new experience, but when a patient flatlines, every second counts.

“With our controlled chaos, how we run a cardiac arrest and we simulate that, is we put them in a position where they stay,” explained David Howerton, the Office of the Medical Director’s director of clinical affairs.

EMSA’s 19 new recruits are learning to work as a pit crew, with each person working on a specific task to revive a mannequin.

“It’s always not like it’s going to be in the classroom when you get in the field,” said Justin Miller, who is joining EMSA with previous experience as a paramedic in rural Oklahoma communities.

This is the first time Miller is learning the pit crew model.

He said, “It allows the paramedic to step back and take a breath and be able to talk to the family and be able to coordinate the scene like they need to.”

Still, when a life is in your hands there is a lot of pressure. Howerton says this method helps give paramedics a clear focus, which has resulted in more lives saved across the metro.

“If they don’t use this model and everybody is moving around, their survival rate goes down significantly,” he said.

That is why trainees like Miller are looking forward to putting what they have learned into practice.

Miller said, “When you get to meet the person that you saved is a wonderful feeling. You get to shake their hand because the last time you saw them, they was clinically dead.”

Formal testing for the recruits happens Wednesday.

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