In order to meet a Department of Defense mandate that they be National Registry certified by December, firefighter and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel with First Coast Navy Fire and Emergency Services department went through various skills testing last week.

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians was established to implement and maintain uniform requirements for the certification and recertification of emergency medical technicians.

The testing was held aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville for firefighter/paramedics Aug. 27 and for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) the next day. The testing was moved to Naval Station Mayport Aug. 29.

“We hired a company to come in and give us hands-on training, which is required by the National Registry before they are eligible to take the written test,” said Assistant Fire Chief Gary Blaylock. “They set up multiple skills stations to evaluate their emergency medical service skills based on different scenarios they are presented with.”

EMTs had to complete three skills stations, which included a trauma station, where they had to assess traumatic injuries on a test mannequin and a station where they had to perform CPR and use a defibrillator. The third station was multi-faceted, where they were faced with one of four scenarios, which could be a bone fracture or an arterial bleed.

“We pick one of the four scenarios,” said Mark Ocepek, a paramedic instructor. “It will be something they have seen before, but we also throw a surprise at them.”

“Upon completion of the physical skills stations, they are signed off by the instructors and given a voucher to take to the National Registry, which will assign them a candidate number to allow them to schedule the written test,” Blaylock said.

The EMT’s had a time limit to complete each skills station.

“They have 10 minutes to complete each skills station,” said instructor Ernest Morera. “Ten minutes is an eternity in a real-world situation.”