BY WARREN HORTON
COD’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program has been temporarily halted.
The Riverside County Emergency Medical Services (REMS) had recommended to the Public Safety Academy (PSA) in December to stop the EMT program for the Spring 2016 semester, due to a lack of compliance, according to Neil Lingle, the newly appointed director to PSA. Director Lingle had little time to examine the issue and make necessary changes. After checking into the reported non-compliance issues, he decided it was in the best interest to temporarily stop the EMT program and fix the issues.
First responders are required to complete the EMT program. Director Lingle worked out a partnership with Copper Mountain College to teach those students that need to fulfill their EMT certification and to make sure it was a credited program. The students will still graduate from COD, but simply obtain EMT certification from Copper Mountain College. Those students that were attending refresher courses were not affected. According to Director Lingle, the EMT program should be back in full compliance by the Fall 2016 semester.
According to Bruce Barton, Director of REMS, there had been a number of changes at the EMT program including, changes in instructors, changes in executive administration, and the certification was about to expire. Barton further stated that the issues are fixable yet REMS is still waiting for the application package to be submitted for review and inspection. This process can take approximately 60 days, but can vary due to refinements in the paperwork, which must meet California state law.
Although Barton could not speak as to the timeline by COD to get the EMT program back in operation, he did point out that the process is very extensive which includes paperwork, REMS staff review of instruction to meet applicable laws, on site inspections, agreements with hospitals and in-field emergency providers, and instructor qualifications. Barton stressed that, “It is not an overnight process.”