If you’re an EMS worker who is thinking of relocating or just wants to learn more about life across the U.S., EMS World’s State Department is worth a look. We start with “snapshots” of featured states, then bring you exclusive guidance from local EMS leaders. Our goal is to highlight everyday aspects of potential destinations from a prehospital provider’s point of view.
Connecticut sits at the intersection of New England and the Manhattan-centric tristate area—two dissimilar regions. Residents of Connecticut to the northeast of New Haven mostly favor packed powder, Ipswich clams, broad A’s, and the Boston Red Sox, while those to the southwest embrace a more metropolitan New York/New Jersey vibe.
According to Connecticut’s EMS director, Raffaella “Ralf” Coler, her state’s proprietary charm and proximity to prominent commercial hubs are notable advantages. “I like the access to Boston and New York,” the 34-year EMS veteran says. “The food is great, and there’s plenty for a shopaholic like me to do, but Connecticut has lots to offer, too. You can ski in the morning and go to a museum in the afternoon. If you’re still feeling cultural after that, there’s the theater and opera.”
More-rustic attractions include 40 wineries, over 100 farmers’ markets, and the Freedom Trail, which features 130 sites in 50 towns. “And there are major casinos if you’re into that sort of thing,” Coler adds. “You can drive anywhere in Connecticut within two hours."
Part of what makes Connecticut distinctive is its contrasts. The state is the third-smallest but fourth-most densely populated; it has the second-largest gap in average income between the top 1% and everyone else; and it offers 250 miles of shoreline less than three hours from Boston and New York City. For EMS personnel there’s plenty of on-the-job variety, too—urban and rural, career and volunteer—with a few quirks incoming caregivers should note.
Hospitals: More Than Destinations
Hospitals in conventional EMS systems are primarily endpoints of transports. Mutual interests encourage cooperation with prehospital personnel, but in many states such relationships are informal and lack strategic imperative.
In Connecticut hospitals aren’t just destinations for EMS; they’re sponsors. “They oversee all of our clinical levels and are responsible for delivery of care,” says Coler. “They make sure prehospital personnel are trained and follow protocols. They’re an integral part of our system.”
You can’t work in Connecticut EMS without medical sponsorship. Usually, your agency’s sponsor becomes yours and provides all the continuing education you need for renewal. If you’re a paramedic, that’s an annual exercise—one that’s simplified by retaining national certification.
Most sponsors derive content from the National Registry, although an NREMT card isn’t required beyond initial certification—yet. “I’ve just submitted legislation that would make Connecticut a Registry state,” says Coler, who is a paramedic and RN. “It would require providers to maintain NREMT credentials throughout their careers. That bill is going to be considered this year.”
Paramedics are licensed by Connecticut; other levels are recertified every three years at no charge. There are 30-hour and 53-hour refresher courses for EMTs and AEMTs, respectively.
Opportunities for Caregivers
Getting reciprocity is easy if you’re nationally registered or certified in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, or any state whose criteria are at least as rigorous as Connecticut’s.
If you decide to volunteer, you’ll have lots of company. “Volunteering is a big part of EMS in Connecticut, especially in rural areas with lower call volumes,” Coler says. “Over 80% of our agencies have at least some volunteers.
“Connecticut offers lots of options to EMS providers, regardless of certification or experience. It’s also an awesome state for raising a family. Whether you’re looking for an urban, suburban or rural setting, it’s just a great place to live and work.”