Guest speakers Pete Lazarra and Tim Hiller, who have almost 60 years of combined experience in the paramedic field, teamed up to field questions from an audience of about 160 emergency medical workers at the Heritage Inn Sunday.
The keenest focus was on age: when is it too late, or too early, to become a paramedic?
“I think a person at age 16, 17, or 18 has those capabilities (physically and mentally) to do the job, but where there are issues is the whole emotional aspect of what you do,” said Lazarra. “Imagine, at 16 or 17, someone you know hands you a dead child. Could you perform effectively? Probably. But my concern is how that would emotionally impact you.”
“Too old is when you physically can’t do the job,” he added. “The hardest part of our job is probably the physical part of it. Having to move people, getting on the chest and doing compressions ... if you’re fit enough to do it, that is the greatest litmus test.”
“I started at 18. ... I agree with Pete that we’re still developing at that age, and I don’t know if I had that much maturity at that point,” said Hiller. “The stuff I did at 18, if my staff did it now, they wouldn’t be working for me.”
For more, pick up tomorrow's Times-Herald.