NELSON — A former volunteer with the Nelson Fire Department accused of impersonating an EMT at an emergency last year recently pleaded guilty.
Joseph W. Andrews, 32, of Nelson responded to a medical emergency as a member of the town fire department in April 2012, claiming to be an EMT, according to court documents.
He did not treat anyone during the emergency, as the patient died before crews arrived and had a “do not resuscitate” order, according to Martha M. Jacques, who prosecuted the case for Nelson police.
Jacques said the N.H. Division of Fire Standards and Training and Emergency Medical Services has no record of Andrews being a certified EMT.
Andrews received a certificate from the division’s basic transition program in 2005, meaning he completed a week-long EMT refresher course, but that does not certify him as an EMT, Jacques said.
Jacques was not sure how long Andrews had been a member of the Nelson Fire Department.
Andrews pleaded guilty to one count of prohibited acts, which was reduced from a misdemeanor to a violation, May 16 in 8th Circuit Court District Division in Keene and received a $1,000 fine, suspended for two years.
A misdemeanor charge of unsworn falsification was dropped because the allegations in the charge were wrong, Jacques said.
In town documents, Andrews wrote he was an “EMT crt,” not an “EMT B State Certified” as court documents alleged, according to Jacques. She said the charge was dropped because it would be hard to prove what Andrews meant by “EMT crt,” because it could stand for “certified” or “certificate.”
Capt. Jeffrey Morel, EMS and fire training officer and coordinator for the Keene Fire Department, said the 24-hour refresher course, which can last about a week, is designed to get EMTs up to speed with the most current national standards and procedures. To become a certified EMT, a person must take more than 100 hours of coursework and observation in the field before taking exams and applying for a license, Morel said.
Andrews’ wife, Susan Andrews, 38, also of Nelson, faces similar charges. She is charged with five counts of prohibited acts and one count of unsworn falsification, accused of posing as a certified EMT.
Susan Andrews is also a former volunteer for the Nelson Fire Department, Jacques said. She took the same week-long course her husband did and received the same EMT basic transition program certificate in 2005, Jacques said.
According to court documents, Susan Andrews submitted paperwork to the town of Nelson that said she was an EMT-B State Certified, when she was not.
Jacques said Susan Andrews also went to the April 2012 call, in addition to a cardiac emergency and fatal crash on Route 9 in June 2012. During both June calls, she said she was an EMT, and provided care at the cardiac emergency, according to court documents.
In Stoddard on an unspecified date, Susan Andrews responded to the scene of a mutual aid rescue call, where she said she was an EMT and provided care to a female patient by removing an impaled Epi-pen needle from her body, according to court documents.
The charges against both came after the Nelson Fire Department asked all EMTs to list their certifications, Jacques said. When the town tried to verify the pair’s certifications with the Division of Fire Standards and Training and Emergency Medical Services, officials learned the couple’s certification claims were false, Jacques said.
Nelson Fire Chief Richard Lothrop could not be reached for comment. Joseph and Susan Andrews also could not be reached for comment.
Susan Andrews’ trial is scheduled for August in 8th Circuit Court District Division in Keene.