Most Emergency Medical Service providers in the United States are volunteers. Paid professional providers are statistically the exception rather than the rule. Volunteers providing emergency medical coverage to their communities are invaluable assets. They are required to maintain a certain level of proficiency to continue to certify at the national and state level. This is done mainly by continuing education hours. There is a small but stubborn subgroup however that are hobbyists. We need to do our best to weed those individuals from our ranks.
We all know who these folks are. They hold the same EMT rating as we do but they haven't provided patient care in years. They instead prefer to jump in the front of the ambulance to drive. They sport the "We do the same thing as a Doctor but at 80 mph" shirt or the "You better behave or I get to see you naked" shirt. They show up to calls in dirty clothes and open toed shoes.They have joined the squad as a status symbol or as a social group. They do not take the onus placed on them by the community seriously.
When a 911 call goes out the individual or family that calls has an expectation in this country of prompt, professional response. As EMS providers we owe them the best service possible when they are at their most vulnerable. These folks allow us into their house, we hear intimate details about their lives. They are looking to us to fix the problem. How we present ourselves,our professionalism, skill and decisiveness is what will provide that comfort. If we waste our training opportunities, if we don't take our responsibility seriously then we are doing the public a disservice.
Do some self examination. Are you a professional or a hobbyist?