An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is an emergency pre-hospital care
provider in the United States trained to provide emergency medical services
to the critically ill and injured.
The modern EMT performs a wide variety of duties and responds to many types of
emergency calls. The duties which the EMT may perform at his or her certification
level are dictated by state laws which define the EMT's scope of practice. Types of
emergencies that an EMT may be called on to respond to are medical emergencies,
hazardous materials exposure, childbirth, child abuse, fires, rescues, injuries, trauma
and psychiatric crises. As National Fire Protection Association standards state,
rescuers should be medically certified. Many EMTs are also part of Technical Rescue
teams, such as Extrication, Rope Rescue, and Water Rescue. They may also be part
of an Emergency Medical Service (EMS), career or volunteer Fire department, or
independent rescue team.
EMTs are trained in practical emergency medicine and skills that can be deployed
within a rapid time frame. Patient treatment guidelines are described in local protocols
following both national guidelines and local medical policies. The goal of EMT
intervention is to rapidly evaluate a patient's condition and to maintain a patient's
airway, breathing and circulation. In addition, EMT intervention aims to provide CPR
and defibrillation when necessary, control external bleeding, prevent shock, and
prevent further injury or disability by immobilizing potential spinal or other bone
fractures, while expediting the safe and timely transport of the patient to a hospital
emergency department for definitive medical care.