The "On Duty" EMT Class Program

Emergency Medical Technician

  What it means to be "On Duty"...



By now you have already been assigned to a "Squad" and are probably wondering what that means. It means that you are about to receive a wonderful opportunity to get some great hands-on experience, but wait that’s not all, it also means that you will be handed many new responsibilities. As I am sure you all know, being a part of the EMS involves more than your immediate response to a call. In order to help you better understand the duties that must be carried out by EMS workers, I have prepared a list of duties which you will be responsible for throughout this course.

All Squads

It is extremely important to know that you are equipped with all of the necessary equipment at all times. Therefore, each squad will be responsible for the weekly inventory of at least one response bag, depending on whether or not your squad is on duty. Class begins promptly on the hour. It is expected that your squad will have completed the necessary response bag inventory and ALL squad duties PRIOR to the start of class. You must arrive on time and check out your respective response bag from the equipment cabinet. You will conduct a thorough inventory based on the inventory sheet provided in your bag. An additional copy of the inventory sheet is available in your syllabus and on CourseCompass. You will be expected to notify one of the teaching assistants if you need to replace a missing piece of equipment. Please be certain that there is nothing missing or nothing extra (not on the inventory sheet) in your response bag. If you are not sure, ASK. Once your inventory is complete you may place your bag back in its proper place inside the equipment cabinet. We will be conducting random checks of the equipment to determine that proper inventories are being conducted. In addition to the bag check, each shift will be responsible for the following items (Click on the Squad link for a more detailed description of the duties):

  • SQUAD 1 - Vital Sign Trays - Complete and in proper order each week before and after class.
  • SQUAD 2 - Mats, Blankets & Scenario Clothing - Sorted, folded and stored properly.
  • SQUAD 3 - Backboards, Scoops and Flats - Outfitted and stored in their proper location.
  • SQUAD 4 - C-Spine Bags - Inventoried and neatly organized and stored.
  • SQUAD 5 - Chairs & Tables - Properly stored and organized.
  • SQUAD 6 - KEDs - Complete and properly stored.

More detailed descriptions of these duties are available on CourseCompass. These are part of your weekly duties and should be performed before and after each class.

Duty Squads

The primary responsibility of the “Duty Squad” is to respond to any emergency that might occur during the normal class period.  Once on-scene, you will ensure scene safety and provide all necessary patient care.  Each shift begins promptly on the hour and ends when class is officially dismissed.  It is recommended that the duty squad arrive a few minutes early to check out two response bags. One bag will be their squad assigned bag and the second will be the squad bag just prior to you in sequence. For example, if you are squad 3 and you are on duty, you will check out response bag #3 and response bag #2.  It is recommended that each squad decide in advance a game plan and assign specific duties to the squad members should an emergency arise.  You will have an opportunity to ask questions of the teaching assistants during your briefing which will be before your first response.

You will be assigned a radio at the beginning of your shift. This will be your means of communication with dispatch, fire and the hospital. Besides receiving your call and necessary information, you may use your radio to call for additional resources or verify a location. You will also be held accountable for the condition and return of your radio at the end of your shift. It is the responsibility of the squad leader to make certain that all members know how to use the radio properly.

Those of you who are OFF duty

All squads not officially on duty will be responsible to respond to all emergencies in a bystander role only.  As bystanders, you may be utilized by the responding squad as deemed appropriate by that squad.  If asked to assist during a response, you may perform as an untrained bystander only and not as a trained responder.  It is important to carefully observe all patient care because you will be expected to participate in the post response critique. Inappropriate talking or horseplay are strictly forbidden during all scenarios. All off duty personnel will be expected to participate in the critique that follows all responses.

Squad Leaders

Congratulations on being selected the leader of your squad. Along with the rewarding aspects of leadership comes, you guessed it, more responsibility. You may have heard the saying, “To be a good leader you must first be a good follower.” This does not mean that after so many years of being a follower you are promoted to leadership. According to Webster, to be a follower is to be “one in the service of another”. I believe that this same definition applies to the leadership role.

As a leader you will want to be certain that your squad is at it’s best, not only at scene calls but at lab exercises, quizzes, and skills exams as well. To do this you will need to be at their service. You need to feel the needs of your squad and keep them accountable to their responsibilities.  All squad members will report to you with routine concerns relating to the squad or class. If you are unable to answer their concern, then you will defer it to the Class Leader who will then consult with the instructional staff as appropriate. You will report to the Class Leader for updates, questions, concerns or problems. Please refer to the Squad Leader job description on CourseCompass for a list of your responsibilities as a squad leader. One of the teaching assistants will meet with you to discuss these responsibilities.