January 21, 2011 - The New EMT Program
The beginning

In this issue

1. The New EMT Training Program
2. Who am I?
3. The beta-test site
4. Disclaimer
5. Sample Test Question(s)
6. Graduation

The New EMT Training Program

For many years, since 1995, new emergency medical technicians were trained according to the DOT National Curriculum. I myself was trained using an older program (EMT-A). What this meant to us instructors is that if you knew how to put on a Hare traction device we had to pass you even if you had no clue as to why the device was needed. We tested your skills and not your core competency.

The new EMT program is not a curriculum rather a set of guidelines. There are no lesson plans only concepts that have to be taught. How those concepts are taught and ultimately evaluated has been left up to the states.

Bryan Bledsoe has an interesting article on the new program.
The state of New Jersey has decided in 2011 to adopt the new guidelines but did not have a plan on how to implement them. A team was put together during the summer and fall of 2010 to decide what should be taught and to create lesson plans for the beta-site program.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Servives Office of Emergency Medical Services (hereafter known as OEMS) decided that there would be four beta test sites. Each in a different part of the state. The test sites would run their programs in the spring of 2011 and then compare notes in June 2011.

The original plan was then to roll out a full, new EMT program for the summer of 2011. I think that is an overly ambitions plan.

One of the beta test site is the Bergen County Emergency Services Training Center.

Who am I?

My name is Jim Berthold and I have been an EMT instructor since 1997. I have primarily worked at the Bergen County Emergency Services Training Center located in Paramus, New Jersey (also known as Chaise U after Bob Chaise).

The Bergen County EMS Training Center has been around since the late 1970's and currently trains around 750 new EMT's per year and several thousand re-certifying EMT's each year. That's a lot of students. We have been given the nickname of the "Factory" which is a bit unfair but we do train the most in the state.

To be fair we do have a large instruction staff of over 25 instructors so our ratio of student to instructor is still quite low.

I am proud to be a part of this institution and excited that we were chosen to be one of four beta-test sites in New Jersey for the new EMT Program.

My goal for these news letters is to provide a running commentary on the implementation of the new EMT training procedure so other sites can learn from our successes and from our failures.

The Beta Test Site

One of the beta test sites for the new EMT training program in New Jersey is my site at the Bergen County Emergency Services Training Center in Paramus, NJ. I do not want to discuss the other sites since that will not be fair to them. I do want to discuss our site and I hope to be unbiased as possible.

The Coordinator of the program is Michael Tarantino. He was my EMT-A instructor and has been through several changes to EMS here in New Jersey. He is very qualified to undertake this new program.

The program is broken out to be approximately 198 hours of class time with 10 hours of either hospital service or ambulance riding time. This is a considerable increase from the standard 120 hours we are used to.

There are 13 written and/or practical tests. This is also a lot more than in the past. There are 9 sections (we used to call them "MODS") covering the following:

1. Preparatory
2. Pharmacology
3. Patient Assessment
4. Airway Management
5. Shock and Resuscitation
6. Medical
7. Trauma
8. Special Patient Populations
9. EMS Operations

Each section has its own test and then there will be "Overarching" test that combine sections. The first comes after section 5, the second comes after section 8 and the final after section 9 covering all sections.

As the beta-test course unfolds, I will write about what we are doing. We will see how this works out.

We have decided on a text book for this program. The book is the AAOS Emergency Care and Transport of the Sick and Injured 10th edition.

The advantage of this book and its associated programs is that the book is available on audio, has a strong online presence and online assessment. How we use this will be explained as it comes along. Remember, we are learning how to do this as well.


I do work for the Bergen County Emergency Services Training Center but I do not speak for them. My opinions are strictly my own and do not necessarily represent the opinions of my employers. I take full responsibility for the content of this publication.

Sample Questions

In this section I will pose a question, usually in multiple choice format. As many of you have found out, I do distribute an online EMT test. I need to test new questions for the new product. Some of those questions will be displayed here. The next newsletter will have the answer I feel is correct. I welcome any feed back.

Here is the first sample question.

You arrive to find a 48-year-old mail complaining that his chest feels heavy. The patient is awake and talking to you. During your assessment you note that his skin is pale, cool and clammy. Your first step is to

a) apply your AED
b) administer supplemental oxygen
c) obtain a past medical history
d) assist the patient in taking his neighbor's nitroglycerin

Answers next time:


As we start the New EMT program here at the Bergen County Emergency Services Training Center we say good-bye to the Fall 2010 class. We started with over 300 students and we finish with about 180. This is a large attrition but the course is difficult for some. Modules 4 and 5 are especially difficult for student pass.

My individual class had 18 students and I am graduating 14 which is a bit better than the class average. I hope (and I am confident) that they pass the state exam.

Good luck!

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