First Responder/EMR is an entry level certification offered by National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). The certificate holders are engaged in out of hospital care in medical emergencies. However, the scope of their practice is limited in comparison to emergency medical technicians and specialized emergency medical technicians; they are allowed to give first aid services. First responders are a part of life support units and their role in providing emergency medical services can not be overlooked.
First Responder/EMR certification is expired in two years period. It remains valid from October 1 to September 30 of respective years of certification periods. If the candidate has achieved the certification between January 1 to June 30 of current year, certification remains valid till September 30 from next two years. If the candidate has achieved the certification between July 1 and December 31 of current year, certification remains valid till September 30 from next three years.
Candidates can recertify within two years of validity period or while they are state licensed as EMR/First responder, by doing a refresher course and again passing the cognitive and psychomotor exams or going through continuing education hours. Some of the states mandate refresher course for recertification and do not accept continuing education programs. If the certification has already expired, candidate requires going through entire state approved EMR/First Responder course and pass the cognitive and psychomotor exams.
For recertification, the candidate must be currently serving an emergency medical service, health care facility, life support unit or rescue team as first responder/EMR. He/she has to submit a completed recertification report to NREMT and satisfy all educational requirements before September 30 of the expiration year.
The candidate has two options to satisfy educational requirements. Either, he/she must complete a traditional refresher course or complete 12 hours of continuing education. The continuing education must include following topics-
Preparatory: – Roles and responsibilities, Medical direction, Well-being of the First Responder / EMR, Quality improvement, Scene safety, Personal protection, Human anatomy, Medical and legal issues, Lifting and moving.
Patient Assessment: – Scene size-up, Vital signs and history taking, Initial assessment, Assessment of medical patients, Assessment of trauma patients, Communications, Ongoing assessment, Documentation.
Illness and injury: – General pharmacology, Environmental emergencies, Respiration emergencies, Diabetic emergencies, Acute abdominal emergencies, Allergic reactions, Behavioral emergencies, Poisoning and overdose, Musculoskeletal injuries, Soft-tissue injuries, Injuries to head and spine.
Airway: – Basic airway management, Oxygen delivery systems and techniques adjuncts, Advanced airway management, Oxygen therapy.
Circulation: – Management of shock, Bleeding/wounds/shock, Cardiac emergencies, CPR and arrest management.
Childbirth and Children: – Obstetrical emergencies, Childbirth and complications, Gynecological emergencies, Assessing the pediatric patient, Care of the newborn, Medical emergencies in children, Trauma emergencies and care in children, Airway management in pediatrics.
The continuing education should include following topical areas- 1 hour to preparatory, 2 hours to airway, 2 hours to patient assessment, 3 hours to circulation, 3 hours to illness and injury, and 1 hour to childbirth and children topics. This totals to 12 hours of continuing education. Courses such as clinical rotation, home study programs, management and leadership courses, CPR, instructor courses, or performance on duty or volunteer time with agencies are not recognized as continuing education. If a refresher course is taken, it must be an approved DOT national standard EMR/First responder course or a refresher course approved by Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS).
He/she also requires achieving CPR certification valid till September 30 of expiration year. The recertification application submitted by candidate has to be signed by training program director or supervisor, who will have verified candidate’s skills as EMR/First responder. The application fee is $10. This fee is non transferable and non refundable.