Fire chief honored for 20 years of EMT certification
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians recognized Chief Jerry Hickman for keeping up with his certification for the past two decades
By Eric Swanson
The Ada News
ADA, Okla. — About 20 years ago, Bill Atkinson was taking an emergency medical technician class at the Ada Fire Department when he heard Assistant Chief Jerry Hickman talking to another firefighter.
The firefighter told Hickman that he was not comfortable with medical issues, and he did not like arriving at the scene of an emergency and not knowing what to do.
“I’ll never forget Jerry’s response,” Atkinson said. “He said, ‘That’s why I became an EMT.’ And that answer stuck with me.”
Atkinson became the department’s third EMT and was nationally registered as an EMT Basic in 1997. He was one of the instructors for the first department-wide EMT class and is still certified to teach the subject.
Atkinson, who is now an assistant fire chief, learned recently that the board of directors of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians had recognized him for achieving 20 consecutive years of national EMS certification. The NREMT provides the certification, which indicates that an EMT has met a standard level of competence, and maintains a registry of EMTs’ certification status.
To maintain his status as a nationally registered EMT, Atkinson has to complete a 24-hour refresher course for EMS professionals every two years. He also has to take continuing-education courses on a variety of EMS-related subjects.
Atkinson said the NREMT recognition is significant because it shows the fire department’s commitment to serving Ada.
“The demands upon the department have changed over the years, and the department has adapted to meet those demands,” he said. “Personally, to me, my doing that (maintaining certification) is part of doing my job to serve this department.”
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