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EMSA trainees gear up for course that has nothing to do with medicine

EDMOND, Okla. – When it comes to paramedics, you probably think about the life-saving techniques they’re trained to perform every day.

While EMSA workers are trained for treating others, they are also tasked with driving a difficult vehicle.

Capt. Mike Cain, with EMSA, said, “The most important, the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis is drive the ambulance.”

Capt. Cain is one of the trainers for the Emergency Vehicle Operators Course.

Trainees have to learn to drive a vehicle weighing 16,000 pounds with no rear view mirror.

Instead, they have to rely on side mirrors to see what’s going on around them.

During the course, EMSA trainees can make up to six attempts to maneuver through 300 cones without hitting a single one.

Otherwise, they fail the course.

Experts say the cones are just part of the training.

Drivers also must pass courses like ‘Brake and Evade,’ where trainees must learn where it is safe to drive fast, along with evading other obstacles they may face in the road.

Cain said, “You never know whenever you’re responding to an emergency; somebody might jump out in front of you. A dog, kid, whatever it may be, you have to be on your toes.”

John Dorius said, “There’s a lot of stress that goes with it.”

Dorius is training to become a paramedic and recently learned that a major part of the job is becoming familiar with the road.

He said, “If you don’t know where exactly to go, if you miss a turn and go the wrong way, it could completely compromise your patient, especially if they’re critical.”

Driving an ambulance is stressful but Dorius said if he passes the course, it will be worth it.
There are around 28 trainees in EMSA’s academy right now, which is being held in Edmond.

For more information about becoming a paramedic, visit emsaonline.com