Philadelphia teens looking for paths to careers in firefighting or emergency medical services (EMS) should take a closer look at Randolph High School.
“This will change your life,” said 12th grader Mickeem Watson, one of three students who became a certified emergency medical technician (EMT) because of his education at Randolph.
The instructors at Randolph’s Fire/EMS Academy are members of the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD). They teach subjects ranging from CPR and patient privacy laws to incident command and hazardous materials; they also chaperone field trips to the airport’s fire station, the PFD’s 911 dispatch center, and heavy rescue companies.
Students receive the initial education required to become firefighters and are given the opportunity to earn two national certifications: emergency medical responder (EMR) and EMT. These credentials can help them get jobs with private ambulance companies and/or pave the way to apply to the PFD. Graduates of Randolph’s Fire/EMS Academy earn 3 points toward the city’s hiring test for firefighters.
“This is a lot of time and effort and hard work – but it’s worth it,” said senior Jordan Pollard, who wants to become a paramedic after receiving his EMT certification.
PFD Firefighter Larry Carroll, who has also worked as a paramedic, now teaches at Randolph.
“Best job in the world, hands down,” Carroll said of the fire service. “When you help save somebody’s life and they look up at you afterward – that’s more than a paycheck.”
Paramedic Lt. Josue Clement, who oversees the Fire/EMS Academy, said the rigorous program gives teens the skills they need to excel on any path they take after high school.
“It’s not just about the certifications,” said Clement. “It’s the bigger picture of making them successful in life.”