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Lincoln Volunteer Ambulance training new class of EMTs

A new batch of students have enrolled in the Emergency Medical Technician course offered through the Lincoln Volunteer Ambulance that began this month.

The class, which started the week of Jan. 6, is offered every year or two depending on interest. Kristy Fry, who is currently an EMT, is the lead instructor for this course.

Although the class costs $300, students who work with or join the ambulance after becoming EMT certified will be reimbursed for the cost.

The class began with eight students, but is down to six and Aaron Birkholz, the Lincoln Ambulance president, said there's only one student not associated with Lincoln's ambulance service. All other students are currently Emergency Medical Responders seeking their EMT certification.

Birkholz said the 150-hour class is "very intense and very fast-paced," and that it's not for everyone. "They have to do a lot of reading," he said, noting that the textbook is four to five inches thick and that students will have completely covered the material in it twice before the end of the course.

The coursework requires twice as much hands-on practice as in-class work, so students are meeting for six hours every Sunday afternoon and for another four hours on Monday evenings. The class will run through mid-March in order for students to get the amount of hours they need.

After the class, a hands-on practice test and a written test through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians are required for EMT certification. This certification is required to obtain an EMT license from the Montana Board of Medical Examiners.

Klara Varga is currently an EMR and one of the students taking the course. She received her EMR license last May and has been volunteering with the Lincoln Ambulance for a little over a year. One of the reasons she said she's taking the class is that, while she can drive the ambulance and assist EMTs as well as start CPR and stop bleeding, there are many things she can't help with.

"It'll give me the opportunity to know more when I walk in the door and be able to help more effectively," she said.

Additionally, for the ambulance to go out, it requires two staff, at least one of whom must be an EMT.

"Which is another reason I'm taking the class," Varga said. "Two times in the last year two of us showed up, but neither of us was an EMT so we had to wait."


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