Emergency Vehicles

What is EMS

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Welcome! This page will give you lots of information about what EMS is and what we do at Sheridan Ambulance.

Image by Mat Napo

Who works on the ambulance ?

Let's learn about our EMT friends

What are the differences in EMS providers? 

There are different levels of EMS providers beginning with EMT and moving all the way up to Critical Care Paramedic. Each level requires different schooling, but all training starts with EMT. All levels of EMS providers must pass their course and take the NREMT exam. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians is a certification board that tests all providers. Once a provider has obtained NREMT certification they may obtain a license to practice and can then work as a provider. The Critical Care or Flight Paramedic will take their exam through the Board of Specialty Critical Care Certification in addition to the NREMT exam.  

All EMS provides are always learning and keeping current in trends in medicine and always practicing their trade through Continuing Education.  

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)- The Emergency Medical Technician provides basic life support care including providing rescue breathing, placing basic airways, performing wound care, splinting, assessment and care of injured or ill patients. EMT training takes 3-4 months and, in some places, EMT is even taught in some High Schools. 

Advanced EMT (AEMT)- The Advanced EMT is the next level of EMT training and allows the provider to do all of the skills of the EMT but allows them to do some additional skills. They can place IV’s, place BIAD airways and administer some medications. The Advanced EMT learns more advanced assessment skills and a broader understanding of Emergency medicine.  The AEMT program last around 3 to 4 months in addition to the EMT course.

Intermediate EMT (Intermediate)- In some states including Wyoming EMTs may achieve Intermediate Certification. This level of training adds additional skills and training above the AEMT level to include EKG interpretation, intubation and additional medications.  

Paramedic- Can perform all of the skills of the EMT and AEMT but also has advanced skills including administering medications through IV and IO lines, place advanced airways through intubation, obtain and interpret 4 and 12 lead EKGs, performs Advanced Life Support care of ill and injured patients. The Paramedic is typically the highest trained provider on an Ambulance. Paramedic school typically last about a year in addition to EMT school.

Critical Care Paramedic/Flight Paramedic- The FPC, CCP or CCEMT is the highest level of training that can be obtained for a EMS provider. The provider can do many very advanced skills and they take care of the sickest of patients. They can provide the highest level of care and are usually found working in Critical Care transports including helicopters and airplanes. Training requires at least 2 years of experience as a Paramedic and lengthy self-study to prepare for the exam. 


What equipment do they use

What’s Available



Helping a person to breathe

he human body requires oxygen to survive and a pathway to allow oxygen into the lungs. When a injury or illness causes difficulty with breathing or the ability to maintain a open airway, EMS providers have lots of tools to assist breathing or even correct those issues. Here is a few examples of what those providers do and the tools they may use. 

Oxygen may be administered through the use of various devices such as thin tube applied to the nose called a nasal cannula or through a mask called a non-rebreather mask. In severe cases where a person can’t breathe on their own a bag valve mask may be used which acts like an artificial lung that allows EMS providers to provide air into the patient by squeezing a bag attached to a mask. 

If the patient has airway issues, a variety of devices to open the airway may be used that can include placing tubes into the lungs to keep that pathway open.  

EMS providers can also administer breathing medications to help a person to breathe in addition to oxygen.  

IV and IO access

Why EMS may need to start an IV

Up to 65% of the human body is composed of water. The way our bodies work is based through chemicals found in solutions that all require water. EMS providers may insert a catheter which is a very small plastic tube that allows fluids and medications to be administered. IV fluids may be given to correct a variety of different medical conditions and assist with the treatment of traumatic injuries.

Image by Marcelo Leal
Illustrated Medical Heart

Cardiac Care

What does the Cardiac monitor do?

Each of our ambulances is equipped with a cardiac monitor that can help EMS providers identify and treat cardiac emergencies. 
Our heart, believe it or not, actually runs on electricity that your body produces. Our cardiac monitor can detect and monitor that electrical activity in your heart by applying EKG pads to your chest. The electrical activity appears as a waveform that appears on the screen of the monitor. The wave forms that appear on the screen and that are printed are interpreted by a Paramedic and issues with the heart can be identified and corrected. 
Some heart emergencies may require electrical treatment in order to restore the heart to a normal rhythm. This treatment can be performed by placing large electrodes on the patient and delivering a shock to the patient.  
EMS providers are well versed in the use of CPR and chest compression devices.


Why do we use them?

EMS providers are called upon to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. EMS providers care for every age group from newborns to the elderly.  

EMS providers carry a variety of medications to treat emergent conditions. Here is a sample of some of the medications and what they treat. 

Albuterol- A medication that a patient breathes in through a special mask called a nebulizer that helps the patient to breathe easier. 

Dextrose- A mixture of sugar and IV fluids that is given IV to patients that their sugar is too low. 

Epinephrine - Depending on the mixture, this medication is used for a variety of cardiac conditions. The medication can also emergently treat a severe allergic reaction. The medication can also assist in breathing and raise blood pressure.  

Zofran- This medication can help a patient who is ill from nausea and vomiting to stop those symptoms. 

Fentanyl- This medication is used to relieve pain from illness or injury. 

EMS providers are highly trained to identify and treat many illness and injuries using a variety of tools including medications.  

Drug and Syringe