Should you be EMS trained?


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Whether someone is hoping to go into a medical career, or wants to learn life saving skills– Sanford’s EMS program is ready to help.

Matt Van Voorhis currently works for emergency management for Sanford Health.
While his job doesn’t require EMS training, he’s in the process of completing it to be better equipped.

“I think it’s just really beneficial for, obviously if you work for a health care system to have that kind of background, even in the pre-hospital setting, to kind of learn some of the terminology, because even though I’m not in the medical personnel in my day-to-day duty at Sanford, a lot of the conversation is around that,” Van Voorhis said.

The program is offered at Sanford Health’s Stevens Center in Sioux Falls. Travis Spier says classes start in the spring and fall, and last about four months.

“Once you complete the course successfully, you’re eligible to take the national registry exam, which is a computer-based written exam. If you pass that particular portion of it, as well as the skills portion, then you become a nationally registered, certified EMT,” Spier said.

The course also provides a CPR certification, a hands-on lab and the opportunity to spend 12 hours in the ER observing other health care providers.

“The skills that we teach them is how to take vital signs, blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate. How to conduct a patient assessment, whether it’s a medical assessment or a trauma assessment, how to apply different types of equipment, a tourniquet application, for example, with uncontrolled bleeding, how to put a splint on, how to administer oxygen,” Spier said.

Training like this isn’t only for those looking to get into the medical field, but also for those who are just hoping to care for others.

“A lot of outdoor activities happening, whether that be hunting, hiking, or even day to day business with agriculture and farming and medical emergencies can happen in those situations and in the rural setting, providers or EMS personnel can be 30 minutes to an hour away. So really that first hour is so crucial to be able to provide care to a patient or somebody that’s injured,” Van Voorhis said.

“Sometimes people think, oh my gosh, you know, this is not, this is not for me. But you know, even for the individuals that are taking the course, just for general knowledge, I think you know, people are walking away with life saving skills that they can apply, you know, in their, in their own personal lives,” Spier said.

To sign up for the program, email

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