Twenty-seven paramedics have joined the Philadelphia Fire Department after nine weeks of training at the Fire Academy.
The members of Class 37 — one of the largest medic classes in recent years — were already state-certified paramedics when they decided to join the PFD. Their training at the Academy included lessons on basic vehicle rescue; how to treat children who are seriously ill or injured; and how to respond during active shooter incidents.
At their Aug. 15 graduation ceremony, Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel noted that he was once a paramedic, but not in Philadelphia — one of the busiest EMS systems in the nation, and home to the busiest ambulance in the U.S.
“Frankly, I’m not sure I could have done it here,” he said.”I am constantly in awe of the competence and, more importantly, the compassion displayed by our providers — whether it’s their first call of the shift, or their 13th or 14th.”
But he added that help is on the way: The PFD will put five more ambulances in service in the coming weeks, making for a total of 60.
Deputy Chief Girten Allerton, who leads the Fire Academy, told the members of the class to remember the pride they felt at graduation when they go out on medical calls.
“Your skills must be sharp and your minds alert,” Allerton said. “But what truly defines you is the care you give.”
Class spokesperson Jermaine Parks said the new paramedics would work hard to for the Department and the residents of Philadelphia.
“We promise to uphold the words we’ve heard and shouted so many times here at the academy: Dedication and service,” Parks said.
Class 37’s motto is “Burn the boat, we’re home” — meaning they have made a commitment to serve this city, and there’s no turning back now.