The training that an ECA receives varies from area to area and the role has only been active since 2006. It is an unregistered and unregulated title and unfortunately has been exploited by many private companies. Some companies will call a First Aider with less than 5 days training an ECA, whilst other companies, like ourselves have developed the ECA role into a professional and competent clinician. An ECA should never work without support from a registered / certified medic (e.g. Paramedic, EMT, Nurse) as their training is based around this principle.
FestiMeds ECA system consists of three levels:
Level 1 is the First Person on Scene (FPoS) certificate accredited through IHCD, this training generally takes between 3-5 days. An ECA 1 will never be utilised on a frontline ambulance.
Level 2 consists of two weeks training covering areas such as basic airway, wound, fracture, burn, resuscitation, injury and illness management accompanied by a primary and secondary assessment technique. The ECA will then sit the Level 2 exam and if competent will then be mentored through a competency workbook with a trained clinical mentor who in turn assess the ECA whilst treating the patient on the frontline ambulance.
Level 3 of the training is not commenced until the workbook is completed and mentors feel comfortable with the ECA. The ECA will then return to the training centre for a final 5-8 days of training which brings them up to ECA 3. An ECA 3 has an in depth knowledge of pre-hospital care and although will always work with a registered / certified medic, they have the knowledge to be able to work as a team rather than being continuously directed.