A federal proposal to almost double the required hours of training for emergency medical technicians has been met locally with cautious support, though some in the field condemn it. Currently, EMTs are required to attend 48 hours of training and are licensed both through the state and the federal government. That number could increase significantly on the federal level in the near future.
Some local EMTs say more training would discourage new recruits and hurt an already-dwindling rank of paramedics in the state. Others feel the training would benefit their departments, but they worry the increased hours needed for certification will force them to take days off from part-time jobs and leave them without a compensating pay increase.
"It's a strong possibility some of those guys might drop off ... because some of those guys work other jobs and it's tough to get the hours they need," said Boyle County EMS Captain Aaron Stamper. "It just depends on what areas they want to increase the training in," such as the HAZMAT (hazardous materials) or mass-casualty incident training stressed as a necessity by the Department of Homeland Security.