Each January, the collective Team March medical technicians come together for a week-long Emergency Medical Technician refresher training class, which includes familiarization with an ambulance that is active in the 911 system.
“Each year we use AMR (American Medical Response ambulance) and they have been good partners in this, ensuring we have access to the ambulance and crew for as long as we need them,” said. Maj. James Goss, 163rd Medical Group. “It is a great example of joint training that is accomplished every year.”
Goss, who has been functioning as a civilian paramedic for 20 years, has also been an instructor and at Loma Linda University and paramedic instructor cumulatively teaching approximately 10 years.
“One thing I can say with great confidence, based on my experience as a paramedic and a teacher, is that EMS skills are perishable,” Goss said. “If they are not used, they are lost.”
Society expects medical personnel to be able to take care of any patient, at any time, without regard for the age or condition of the patient, an expectation that may not be required of other professions, Goss said.
“EMS personnel work in uncontrolled environments,” he said. “When things are stressful, EMS workers fall back on their training.”
All Air Force medics require a national recertification every two years, Goss said. But the problem is that if they are practicing these skills daily, like many Reserve and National Guard medics, the skills cannot be properly maintained.
This training, aimed at assuring that members retain their knowledge and maintain their skills, is vital. Although the National Registry and the Air Force only require 24 hours of annual retraining, the March team offers an additional week, Goss said. All military medics, who require registry renewal, are welcome.
“Our teachers are paramedics, physicians, nurses, firefighters, and others who are actually doing the job, and we feel that our students really benefit from this,” Goss said. “One of my students recently wrote, ‘In 22 years of being a medic, this is the best refresher course I have ever attended.’ We take pride in the fact that we have one of the best programs going.”