Warren County to offer EMS testing

Warren County had everything it needed to offer EMT testing.

Everything except authorization.

Thanks to a collaborative effort and some pressure from well-placed friends, that has changed.

In the past, “anybody who wanted to be certified as an emergency medical technician or emergency medical responder had to travel to Erie, Clarion, Smethport, or St. Marys,” Warren County Public Safety Deputy Director Scott Rose said. “It’s over an hour to any one of those sites.”

“Pennsylvania went to national registry EMT which meant the written testing for certifications has to be done at Pearson VUE testing centers,” Rose said. “Warren-Forest Higher Education Council was not authorized to do Department of Health testing for EMS.”

Hi-Ed had the necessary equipment. The county had interested students.

“We made some attempts with the national registry to get a site here,” Rose said.

Then, they made some calls and made their case to the right people.

With State Rep. Kathy Rapp, County Commissioner Ben Kafferlin, Council of Governments Fire Service Committee Chairman Paul Pascuzzi, and Department of Health EMS Program Manager John Englert on board, the national registry approved the Hi-Ed site.

“We were able to work with other people to get some pressure to make it happen,” Public Safety Director Todd Lake said.

Rose said some students who had completed the course in the past had balked at the idea of going to one of the testing locations to complete their certifications.

“The class that we’ve got going right now will benefit,” Lake said. “I think we might get a little more interest and I think we’ll get more people who take the test.”

Keeping the testing in house should improve recruitment and retention of responders, Rose said. “This is one way we’re trying to make it easier and get more people certified.”