Christian Huffman

Title: Paramedic and Field Training Officer
Department: Emergency Services
Started with County: 2014

Have you always been paramedic?
No, I started as an EMT basic. I was part-time up until six years ago. Then I went to paramedic school and got my paramedic certification. I started full-time as an EMT basic until I got out of school. When I got out of school, I transitioned into paramedic training.

What made you want to become a paramedic?
I started in emergency services when I was 15 as a junior firefighter. I was going through the fire service, and got my fire protection degree through CVCC. I got hired on at a fire department, and then realized I wanted to do the medical side. I still love firefighting, don't get me wrong, but an opportunity came up, so I came into EMS.

What do you love most about what you do?
Helping people, it's really rewarding at the end of the day. We get to do anything from pick someone up off the floor, help them to the car, to trauma, cardiac events, to performing lifesaving measures on people. If somebody went into cardiac arrest, we can do CPR on them and do all of our ACLS care. It's cool to watch people get better when you're treating them.

I know it's a bit cliché to say, but you're meeting people in some of their worst moments. In a way, that's partly terrifying, but partly exhilarating too, because you feel like you can do something about it.

What drives you to do this?
The adrenaline rush. When you get to where you're going in a serious event, you've got to stay focused, you've got to be on your toes. You've got to know your medications, your skills and what you need to do next. It's a lot of critical thinking.

What do you think about Catawba County as an organization, as an employer?
It's great. Everybody's like a family. Anytime any of us need something outside of work, or even in work, you've always got your coworkers there. It's really a family.

What does the teaching of your role involve?
We mainly train the new hires. We've got a training manual and a training program where they go through three phases during that training. Each phase requires certain things, and you progress over time. We write up evaluations, we make sure  everything's done right, that any time they need help, we're there to help. We teach the new orientation for the new employees. We do the oral boards; we help the chief training officer do the oral boards. There's a lot involved.

What made you decide to add that to your already big list of responsibilities?
I wanted to invest in the new employees because when they get released to start working, you're the one they are going to be working with. I wanted to make sure that they're being taught right, and they're confident when they get out of training. You've got to have confidence in this job.

What would you say to someone who's thinking about doing your line of work here in Catawba County?
We're all here to do the same job. We take care of each other. Catawba County just stands out from everybody else.

Is there anything about what you do that you think people would be interested in knowing about? Anything really unique?
A lot of people do not know exactly what EMS is all about. We do more than just take you to the hospital. There's many things  we can do. We’re a literal emergency room on wheels. We've got to have so many hours of training every year to keep our certification . There's a lot of work to it, but it is rewarding in the end.