Life as an EMT

EMT Thumbnail 1NEK-Emergency Medical Services have been around in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom since the mid nineteenth century, but even in the past twenty years EMS services have seen a shift in how they provide medical care during emergencies.


Mark Creavans has been a local EMT provider for the Glover and Lyndonville area for the past twenty six years, and has noticed a couple changes in how he and his ambulance crew operate.


"When I first started we used to 'load and go', and the idea was you'd take people to the emergency room and professionals would take care of them. What's happened more in the past ten years is they've pushed more stuff onto EMT providers. Now, we can administer more drugs and treatments to patients that we couldn't before."said Creavans.

 Mark began his EMT career after he was in the military, but more people are turning towards it earlier in life. Ashley Fontaine has been an EMT for almost five years.

  "I know I wanted to study EMS when I was at church and a woman had passed out, and I had no idea how to help her. Luckily my Grandma was there and an RN so she knew how to help, but I hated the feeling of not being able to help in that situation, and that sorted made me start thinking about taking an EMS course." said Fontaine.

Mark and other EMTS have also seen a significant protocol change in how you respond to injuries from a car crash.

"You used to have everyone be on a long board if they got into a bad motor vehicle crash, but studies done in South Africa a few years ago found that putting trauma patients on a long board for too long, actually causes damage to tissues where there is contact on the board. So, now we actually access if using a long board is needed in certain situations".

Despite the tough hours that happen as an EMT too, Ashley stills finds the job worthwhile.

"On nights that you're called in at three am and you haven't sleep much that night before it sucks, but you just have to put your work face on. This is the job we were called to do, and its not fair to the patients if we don't act accordingly."

Mark finds the connections you make with people in this field, another important part of the job.

"I like working with the crew here. It has exposed me to work with people in ways I wouldn't normally get the chance to. You get to know each other on a deep, professional and personal level, that I don't think the average person understands or appreciates."

"EMT work isn't all 'blood and guts' either. Many times you are checking in on someone who just needs help, and I think if you're looking into being an EMT-taking an EMT first response course is a great route to take." said Fontaine.

While being an EMT isn't for the faint of heart, there is an incresaing need for it-epspecially for rural areas in the NEK. Things like mutal response helps other EMS personal get to areas if a crew is already out somewhere, but EMS services are always looking to improve their responses. 2020 could potentailly see changes in protocols in Vermont-to ensure better EMS service.