Pilots, paramedics get tough training

August 03, 2008|By JOSH SHAW

Maryland State Police pilots and paramedics receive the best training in the world, said 1st Sgt. Charlie Eisele, the Southern Region supervisor, who spoke by phone from Aviation Command Headquarters in Baltimore.

Everyone in the aviation unit from the pilots and mechanics to the duty officers are required to undergo both initial and ongoing training.

Pilots must have at least 2,000 commercial flight hours before they can apply for a job, and the initial training can take anywhere from three to six months to complete. Once they have completed the training, pilots must take a test consisting of verbal, written and flying sections. As in the air, there is no room for error. In order to pass the test, the pilot must score 100 percent on the written test.

Pilot training also is done annually because "there is always something to learn," Eisele said.

In addition to instructor fly-alongs held four times a year, the pilots get together once a year in a classroom setting to discuss any problems or hot topics about which they would like information.


The medics also undergo rigorous training.

Medics must be nationally registered paramedics and must have three years of previous experience and a variety of valid certifications in such areas as life support and CPR.

The initial training program is 16 weeks The first half is spent learning how to make decisions quickly.

"If you are going to make bad decisions, we want you to make them in training," Eisele said.

For the second half of training, the medics participate in clinical sessions at Johns Hopkins and at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. There, they get hands-on experience working in the emergency room, burn center and other areas to see how hospital staff members respond when a patient arrives.

"By working at a hospital, they learn what is expected of them and what could happen in a certain situation," Eisele said.

The paramedics then take a three-part test similar to the pilots, and are subject to continuing education training every three months.

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