Life Savers

The Alstar EMS Training Center provides education to students looking for a career in the pre-hospital emergency medical field.

Located on East Third Street in Jamestown, the training center provides learning tools and the hands-on experience necessary to assist during emergency situations such as CPR, first-aid and advanced life support. The ALSTAR EMS Training Center has collaborated with ALSTAR EMS, Trans Am Services, WCA Hospital, Olean General Hospital and STEMS to create a distance-learning regional paramedic program.

The regional approach brings faculty and resources locally to students who previously would travel long distances to obtain their paramedic certification. The distance learning program offers a classroom venue in Jamestown and Olean, saving time and expense for those students wishing to further their education in EMS. The Paramedic Program has the benefit of combining faculty that is made up of state-certified instructors, physicians, paramedics and nurses with years of experience in pre-hospital care.

Students taking the class have to become a basic EMT first, says Phil Wilson, clinical operations manager at ALSTAR EMS. If there is a desire to change careers into becoming an EMT, individuals can attend Jamestown Community College and can sign up the following year for the paramedic program. That way, individuals interested in the field can advance quickly, Wilson said. This year, the program saw 33 students – 24 who were able to take the course in Jamestown and 15 who attended the Olean sites.

“The students are hearing one similar voice of education,” Wilson said, adding that the material is consistent under one program. “Regionally, we’re also going to try and include Allegany County, which opens up more opportunities for the students. They can travel to different facilities, they can see different hospitals and how operations are done in different regions. It brings resources to them that they might not normally see in an isolated program.”

The training center has several breakout rooms to simulate different exercises when responding to an individual. Such areas allow students to practice intubating and other skills on a dummy that can talk and change blood pressure. Students are well-trained before they take to the field as an intern-type student, according to Wilson.

Wilson added that the geriatric population is growing every year and EMS demands will continue to parallel with the increase. More paramedics will be needed to tend to emergency situations. Becoming an EMT is an opportunity for people who might overlook it, Wilson said.

“It would be good to have more paramedics to help with calls,” he said. “There is a need for EMS assistance here, and we have a class here.”

Classes take place two nights a week throughout the year, engaging in clinical work and field time with nurses and doctors. The program, according to Wilson, is essentially a full-year of college. Participants in the program stay busy.

“There’s a lot of homework and they earn their paramedic (status),” Wilson said.

For people who are not ready to receive the training, calls can be made to the training center for more information to create the right path in order to know the qualifications to become a paramedic. Currently, the application process for the third site in Allegany County is in the works, but may become available in 2015.

“A lot of our paramedics go on to be nurses and physician assistants, and a lot of people use this as a stepping stone,” Wilson said. “We also have a lot of people here who are career EMS- we love helping people.”

Applications are currently being accepted up through the start of the 2015 program on Jan. 5. Classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays and will go to the third week in December of 2015.

For more information on the program, contact the Alstar EMS Training Center at 664-8319.