Blog | Philipp Haidenbauer

WebDev, DevOp and Paramedic

The Paramedic System in Austria

Posted at — Jun 2, 2019

@basilesamel commented on yesterday’s post:

“How do you pass time with your colleagues when you have 200 kilometers to drive?” So, I thought I should write about the paramedic system in Austria. As with all other paramedic stories I wrote, I am by now means an expert in the whole sector and I can only share my opinion.

Let’s get started. In Austria, every federal state has it’s own paramedic law. It makes the whole process a little bit more complex but mainly it’s the same.

The main paramedic training in Styria (the state I am living in and the state I was educated) consists of 100 hours of theory and 160 hours of practice. There are also several additional pieces of training you can do. “Notfallsanitäter” which translates to “emergency paramedic”, not sure how to translate it with the correct meaning. :)

Basically, it’s a paramedic capable of applying certain medicine, prepare venous accesses and intubation (All three are additional pieces of training after the base emergency paramedic training).

Most of the time, we drive with Volkswagen T5 or T6’s with two paramedics. One of them has to have the “SEF” (=“Sicherer Einsatzfahrer”, Safe emergency driver) training so he or she can drive the vehicle.

So the initial question from Basile can be answered simply, we listen to the stereo, are more correctly I am. At least one paramedic has to be by the patient in the back and there is only a small window between the driver’s cabin and the patient room.

I can’t turn the stereo up much because I am almost not seeing anything in the back mirror, so I need to hear a bit what is going on and if I might have to stop the car to help my co-driver.

Now you know the main part of the training and how we are driving patients around, but there is a little bit more.

In Austria, the paramedic system is based on voluntary, paid and civilian service. An exception is in Vienna but I am not going into detail, as I’m not knowing enough from there.

So in Hartberg, the district office where I’m on duty most of the time and in all Styria the system is based as follows:

A central emergency call center in Graz (the capital city of Styria), which takes all emergency calls and dispatches the vehicles.

In every base has several full-time (and paid) drivers, a bunch of civilian servants (which all have the base paramedic training) which “serve” as co-drivers. Both serve Monday to Friday.

And there is another bunch of voluntary paramedics (drivers and “normal”) which are serving on the weekends. The Austrian Red Cross is the largest service provider in this sector in Austria.

Interestingly, the service only works that way in Austria (as far as I know) and that the Red Cross is serving it is also a special case. But it is how it works. Not perfect, but good enough for such a small country :)