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June 3, 1999

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Published June 2 in the Mountain Eagle

Neon Fire Department will hold their first paramedic class

Staff Report

NEON — The State Cabinet for Health Services (Ems Branch) has approved a plan by the Neon Volunteer Fire Department to teach the first-ever Paramedic class in Letcher County.

County ambulance services have had Paramedics for only two years. Before that, ambulances were staffed by EMT's who have a lower level of training.

Persons who want to take the Paramedic class must first be certified as EMT's and pass an admittance test.

Marc Tarver, Paramedic education coordinator for the fire department, said the lecture portion of the class will begin in August and last through May of 2000. After that, students will have to complete a 500-hour internship with an advanced life support ambulance service and pass a state test in order to be certified. Tarver said that so far, seven ambulance services from Letcher County to Louisville have agreed to accept interns from the class.

Each student also will have to complete 150-200 hours of clinical work in the emergency room and intensive care unit at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital. Dr. Michael Hill, emergency room director at the hospital, will be medical director of the class, Tarver said.

"It's not a college-credit course, but if somebody wants to get their degree, Eastern Kentucky University offers a degree program," Tarver said. He said the class that Neon Volunteer Fire Department is offering is more a vocational program.

Paramedics "can basically render treatment comparable to that of a Registered Nurse, but they won't have a college degree," he said.

Students will attend classes for four hours a day, two days a week and for four hours one Saturday each month. Tuition will be $1700-$2000 depending on how it is financed. The fire department will finance the tuition, Tarver said. The cost includes all books, medical liability insurance, uniforms and state fees.

For more information contact Marc Tarver, Keith Holbrook or Robert Cox at the Neon Volunteer Fire Department, 606-855-7073, or e-mail Tarver at marc@tarver.com

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