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Paramedics Participate in 12-Lead ECG Program

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LARGO, Md. - Over 80 students from the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, surrounding jurisdictions and Emergency Departments participated in a day long instructor program for the12-Lead electrocardiogram (ECG).

The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a diagnostic tool that measures and records the electrical activity of the heart in exquisite detail. Interpretation of these details allows diagnosis of a wide range of heart conditions. These conditions can vary from minor to life threatening. It is called a 12-lead ECG because it examines the electrical activity of the heart from 12 points of view. All Prince George's County Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic units are equipped with a 12-Lead ECG.

The 12-Lead ECG Instructor Program was co-sponsored by the Prince George's County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association Local 1619, Medtronic Physio-Control and facilitated by the Fire/EMS Department's Training Academy. The training was conducted at the IAFF Local 1619 Union House in Bowie, MD, on Tuesday, December 1, 2009. The program is designed for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers and Emergency Department (ED) educators and managers.

Participants need not have an extensive background in 12-lead interpretation because this program is presented in a way that makes the trainer comfortable with the topic. It is assumed, however, that participants have attended a basic 12-lead ECG program and are familiar with the fundamental methods and techniques of instruction.

In addition to several education modules the following real world issues were covered: Training techniques, updating of medical protocols, implementation strategies, and benchmarking tools. "We are fortunate to have a nationally renowned speaker, Tim Phalen, for the advancement of provider education teaching," stated Battalion Chief Deann Drake of the Departments Training Academy. She further explained that, "Tim Phalen has provided 12-Lead EKG education to more than 25,000 EMS providers over the last decade and is an extremely dynamic instructor." He is the author of "The 12 Lead ECG in Acute Myocardial Infarction" published by Mosby. He is nationally renowned for the easy to understand manner through which he presents 12 Lead EKG education.

Participants in the 12-Lead ECG Instructor Program will receive continuing education credits towards their accreditation. Prince George's County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones commented, "The men and women of our Fire/EMS Department are dedicated members that continually strive to attain higher levels of training so they can provide the very best service to our citizens and residents of Prince George's County. Additionally, they will be able to use their knowledge and skills from this program to assist in mentoring other ALS providers. I commend not only the participants but also IAFF Local 1619 and Physio-Control for making this training available."

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