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Saving Lives: Women in EMS

First Responders
First Responders
March 1, 2023
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Emergency medical services are often called the “red-headed stepchild” of first response. A little late to the party, EMS developed back in the 50’s, when WWII veterans began using Army medic vehicles to serve the public. 

Across the country, a lot of EMS providers double as firefighters as per the state regulations, in other areas, services run solo. EMTs and paramedics respond to basic and advanced calls, ranging from the common stubbed toe, to an eighteen-wheel turnover. Rain, shine, snow, sleet, there are people who have the end goal of making sure that the general public is taken care of. 

Like all healthcare, there are issues to the system, where EMS workers are often overworked due to the high demand of their services, the abuse of 911 calls, and the fact that there are not a lot of people who want to do it. EMS workers risk their sanity and well-being for the betterment of the public, not sure whether or not the call they’re about to walk into is actually a cough and cold, or a code and sudden goodbye for the family. 

Though the number has been steadily rising over the years, only around 30% of EMTs are women. Similarly, this is true for about 20% of paramedics. 

Although stigmas are changing, a lot of people don’t necessarily expect much from female EMTs or Paramedics. Women in uniform are often met with the same questions, “Are you sure you know what you're doing? Are you sure you can lift me?'' 

The minimum requirement for EMS workers to enter the field is to pass a national certification test. They may only take this test after attending classes and clinicals that train them appropriately for the job. Those who respond to your 911 call know what they’re doing, especially if they have been doing it for a few years, as all EMTs and paramedics are required to recertify every two years and keep up with continuing education. 

As for physicality, EMS workers are often expected to be able to lift 150 lbs. minimum in order to take the job. 

Paramedicine is ever changing and lifesaving. It is imperative that those who work on tracks, cruisers, and even helicopters stay up to date. Those who make a career out of EMS tend to be leaders in the system, continuing on practices that they know work and teaching the next generation of life savers. Education is greatly important in the world of EMS. Just like healthcare providers in a hospital, EMS responders are always learning and studying. 

Cool providers to follow

There are multiple avenues to learn, passively or actively. It is an easy way to keep yourself sharp and to help others by taking your knowledge to social media, which is what The.Prehospitalist and Emergencyresilience do. These two women are strong pillars to the EMS community, and are constantly giving perspective on the world of EMS to the public. 

The.Prehospitalist is a flight medic, her page is used to educate the public and EMS providers on how to navigate emergency situations and how to fine-tune their craft. 

Emergencyresilience is an EMT who focuses on helping providers and civilians navigate the conversation of death that so often comes with the job. 

Medics and EMTs aren’t always the only people who work first response. After the 9/11 attacks in New York, many hospitalists felt the call of service, along the same wavelength that they had already responded to by pursuing healthcare. 

Lady_surgeon on Instagram is different from the other two educators, however, she uses her personal account to remark on her efforts to help those affected by the attacks on the twin towers. It is worth noting that an event such as 9/11 required a mass response due to the gravity and high numbers of casualties. A response to a similar event on a smaller scale is nearly an everyday experience for folks in EMS. 

There are a ton of great providers out there, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the latest and greatest in the wonderful field of saving lives!

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