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Voice: IVC terminating paramedic program would be a terrible error

February 09, 2001

Open letter to the local EMS community and citizens of the Imperial Valley:

During the last couple months a terrible rumor has been circulating in the local emergency medical services community. This rumor has a lot to do with the quality of training that will be available for our local emergency workers in the future.

The Imperial Valley is in a critical stage with the inability to retain paramedics for periods longer than one to two years at a time, and the local call volume has more than doubled, taxing your local emergency crews while reducing the amount of paramedics available to respond to your emergency.

The Imperial Valley College emergency medical training division is threatened by the possibility of losing its local paramedic program and therefore limiting the amount of emergency workers who could receive training locally. This will cause a drop in the amount of paramedics in the field and it will also deter some of our local qualified candidates from continuing their educations in paramedicine.

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When faced with having to travel to San Diego or Riverside counties to receive the training, many will be discouraged or will end up working in the counties in which they train. You have to understand these are professionals who are already established with local jobs here in the Imperial Valley. Therefore a local program is the most beneficial for them and the community in the Imperial Valley.

To appreciate the need for a paramedic program we must look at the global demand for paramedics locally and statewide. Paramedics have become a need instead of a commodity and many cities are actively recruiting local paramedics and finding a thinning pool to choose from. Therefore this makes the idea of a local paramedic program imperative.

The local program has been praised and is recommended throughout Southern California as a program focused on quality and not quantity, a program that receives more than 100 applications for 20 spots. In the next year close to 12 local EMS workers were looking at expanding their careers by attending this local program, many of whom put other plans aside to do this, and now see the careers they chose in jeopardy.

I would like to call on the leaders at IVC to make a conscientious decision to benefit the EMS community and the Imperial Valley as a whole. Let's hope that we can keep this program alive and set the record straight on this rumor. Write to IVC and let them know that you plan on furthering or starting your career as a paramedic in the emergency medical services. Do this for the sake of your family and the community.

CEDRIC CESE--A

Calexico

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