Growing up in Virginia, Kris Long knew she wanted to be a paramedic after watching “Emergency” on television. After earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in police science at New River Community College in Dublin, Virginia, and completing an internship at a state crime lab, she spent the next 12 years serving as a police officer, including five years as a patrol sergeant. While a police officer, Kris decided to enroll in an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic course at the local community college so she could be an even better police officer, especially as she was often first to arrive at the scene of an accident. That launched her 25-year career as a paramedic, and she continues to go strong today.
Long moved to Montana in 1998 and served as a 911 Dispatcher for Lake and Flathead Counties, was a member of Three Rivers EMS for 10 years, and was a medical assistant at Family Healthcare for six years. To fill the need for an EMS service west of Kalispell, she founded West Flathead EMS in 2009 where she serves as the EMS Captain for the volunteer fire department.
Long has two passions—working in the field as a paramedic and teaching others to be trained paramedics. She enjoys the daily challenges of serving as a paramedic and teaching her students no two chest pains are the same and the importance of responding appropriately according to each unique situation.
Long earned Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees at FVCC and a Bachelor of Applied Science from Montana State University-Billings. In 2004, she began teaching EMT-Basic and Paramedicine I at FVCC. She now serves as the director of FVCC’s paramedicine program and was instrumental in the recent establishment of FVCC’s emergency management program, the first of its kind in the state of Montana.
Now in her 25th year as a paramedic, Long estimates she has been on more than 10,000 callers in her medical career. According to a “Hometown Heroes” article on Long published in the spring 2012 issue of Flathead Living magazine, Long says family is number one, but community service is a close second. To her, it’s all about people helping people.